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THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 




THE COLLECTION OF 
NORTH CAROLINLANA 

ENDOWED BY 

JOHN SPRUNT HILL 
CLASS OF 1889 



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UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL 



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notice is sent to you. It must be brought to the North 
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BRICKS 

WITHOUT 

STRAW 

A Novel by 
ALBION W. TOURGEE 



EDITED BY OTTO H. OLSEN 




Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2012 witii funding from 

University of Nortii Carolina at Chapel Hill 



http://archive.org/details/brickswithoutstrtour 



THE LIBRARY OF 
SOUTHERN CIVILIZATION 



THE LIBRARY OF 
SOUTHERN CIVILIZATION 

Twelve Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup 
EDITED BY SUE EAKIN AND JOSEPH LOGSDON 



Bricks Without Straw, by Albion Tourgee 
EDITED BY OTTO H. OLSEN 



BRICKS 
WITHOUT 

STRAW 



Go therefore now, and work; for there shall 
no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver 
the tale of bricks. 



EXODUS V. I 



BRICKS 

WITHOUT 

STRAW 



<iA Novel by 
ALBION W. TOURGEE 



EDITED BY 

OTTO H. OLSEN 



LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS 
BATON ROUGE 



Copyright © 1969 by 
Louisiana State University Press 

Library of Congress Card Number: 74-80046 

SBN Number; 8071-0906-1 

Manufactured in the United States of America by 

Kingsport Press, Inc., Kingsport, Tennessee 

Designed by Jules B. McKee 



^■1 



INTRODUCTION 



Several months after the conclusion of the American Civil War, 
a twenty-eight-year-old Union veteran from Ohio, Albion Wine- 
gar Tourgee (pronounced Toor-zhay) migrated into North Car- 
olina where he subsequently played an important part as a 
radical Reconstruction leader. Fourteen years later, disillusioned 
by the destruction of Republicanism and the persistence of rac- 
ism in the South, this little-known carpetbagger returned North 
to achieve national and international acclaim as the author of 
two perceptive accounts of life in the Reconstruction South — A 
Fool's Errand by One of the Fools (1879) ^^^ Bricks Without 
Straw (1880). Tourgee's was a short-lived fame, however, for 
the nation was then already abandoning the postwar equalitarian 
commitments that he so vigorously championed, and his activi- 
ties and writings were soon conveniently relegated to undeserved 
obscurity. Now, in our day, a new intensity of racial concern and 
the advent of a so-called second Reconstruction have prompted 
renewed interest in this remarkable carpetbagger. Numerous 
articles and two books on his life, together with several reprint- 
ings of his most famous novel, A Fool's Errand, have appeared 
in recent years; and the republication of Bricks Without Straw 
affords yet another remembrance as well as a worthy contribu- 
tion to our understanding of the history of the United States. 

Tourgee was a man of talent, dedication, and courage who, 
perhaps more than any other American of his time, embodied the 
idealistic impact and ultimate promise of Reconstruction and the 



vii 



Or* 



viii Introduction 

Civil War, An impassioned product of those democratic and 
Protestant-Revolutionary traditions so aptly summarized by the 
nation's Declaration of Independence, Tourgee voluntarily 
fought in the Civil War for the supremacy of freedom and the 
federal government. When the victorious Union then pledged 
itself, through the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amend- 
ments, to guarantee the rights of all citizens, emphatically in- 
cluding Americans of African descent, he labored in the South 
to implement that pledge. When this Reconstruction effort was 
plagued by tragic failures and the nation drifted toward a be- 
trayal of its solemn commitments to the Negro, Tourgee initiated 
a lifelong struggle to reverse that treacherous drift. His two 
Reconstruction novels constituted his most influential contribu- 
tion to the cause. 

Albion Tourgee was born in Ohio in 1837, the son of a 
pioneer farmer, and spent most of his youth in the idealistic 
religious environment of the Western Reserve. Though disdain- 
ful of politics and devoted to what he called the finer things in 
life, particularly literature and art, he was eventually caught up 
in the sectional whirl and sufficiently aroused by the clash at Fort 
Sumter to abandon studies at Rochester University and enlist in 
the Union infantry. Several weeks later he was discharged, crip- 
pled by injuries he had sustained at the Battle of Bull Run. 

Tourgee's response to this tragic setback revealed a tenacity of 
commitment that typified his life. He spent the succeeding year 
recruiting and lecturing for the Union cause, often from a wheel 
chair or on crutches, while struggling toward a recovery that 
enabled him to re-enlist as a lieutenant in the spring of 1862. An 
exciting second term of service followed. He was again wounded, 
he was captured and spent several months in Confederate prison, 
and after participating in the bloody fighting at Chickamauga he 
was again discharged because of his war injuries. 

Following the Confederacy's collapse, Tourgee moved to 
Greensboro, North Carolina, in a typically American search for 



Introduction ix 

comfort and economic opportunity. The migration of this carpet- 
bagger reflected no anticipation of an approaching crucial in- 
volvement in politics, nor did he arrive in the South without 
substance, but brought with him two college degrees, a law 
license, a family, and substantial savings and goodwill. 

A clash between this bold Yankee's convictions and certain 
conditions in the South, however, soon did impel him upon a 
controversial political course. The continuing predominance of 
Confederate leaders in the South and the persecution of south- 
erners who had supported the Union during the war initiated this 
entanglement, but it soon was dominated by Tourgee's objections 
to a treatment of the freed slave population that thoroughly 
violated his concept of free labor and basic human rights. Tech- 
nical emancipation simply had not destroyed the behavior and 
belief of generations, and Tourgee found himself constantly 
irritated by a conspicuous racial oppression that ranged from 
milder requirements for black subservience, to expressions of 
vicious racism and a denial of civil equality, to callous manhan- 
dling and even murder. 

Initially Tourgee's political involvement as a minority agitator 
and editor of a soon bankrupt radical weekly proved a costly 
embarrassment, but the enfranchisement of the freedmen in 
1867 brought him prominence and success as a leader of the 
newly formed North Carolina Republican Party. As a delegate 
to the constitutional convention of 1868, Tourgee successfully 
promoted a wide variety of important reforms. Following that 
convention, he served on a commission entrusted with providing 
a new legal code for the state, and he was elected a superior court 
judge. Thereafter he also remained very much involved in the 
intricacies and excitements associated with Reconstruction poli- 
tics, one of the most emotional and violent political episodes in 
the histot)' of the United States. 

Although Reconstruction Republicans succeeded in providing 
North Carolina with a large measure of positive reform and state 



X Introduction 

and local administrations that compared favorably with those 
before and since, in doing so they defied strong prejudices, dis- 
placed indigenous powers, and fomented an extremely bitter 
opposition on the part of the state's traditional ruling elite. 
Already smarting from military defeat and abolition, most mem- 
bers of this elite, which overwhelmingly dominated the talent, 
wealth, and power of the state, interpreted Republican electoral 
success and reform as a final intolerable threat. Convinced of the 
righteousness of their own stand and of the oppressive, vindic- 
tive, and alien nature of Reconstruction, and further inflamed by 
emotional considerations of race, many members of this opposi- 
tion were prepared to accept almost any means of overthrowing 
Republican rule. A calculated campaign of racism and anti-Re- 
publican slander characterized their consequent efforts, while 
their determination reached its most vicious expression in the 
terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan. This organization was particu- 
larly active in the area of Judge Tourgee's judicial circuit, where 
an undeniable reign of terror continued until at least fifteen 
murders and hundreds of lesser atrocities had been committed by 
the Klan. In such manner Reconstruction was ultimately de- 
stroyed. 

It was a mark of Tourgee's stature that despite his aggressive 
Republicanism in the midst of such ordeals, he continued to win 
recognition for his competence and his many contributions to the 
progress and development of the state. There was also something 
in Tourgee's sense of honor, his honesty and reckless independ- 
ence and pride, that elicited a great deal of southern admiration 
and respect. Nevertheless, Tourgee remained a Republican and 
therefore a carpetbagger, and often it was his very ability and 
success that made him a special target of public abuse. "Tourgee 
the infamous — Tourgee the sepulchral — Tourgee the Cain- 
Marked" was maligned at every step of his southern career with 
an intensity beyond description. In his role as editor, politician, 
code commissioner, judge, citizen, and even husband, he was 



Introduction xi 

denounced as vindictive, dishonest, incompetent, ignorant, evil, 
corrupt, and partisan, until he became one of the most detested 
men in the state. Increasing or decreasing in accordance with 
political need, these denunciations were accompanied by threats, 
planned assaults by the Klan, fist fights, and ostracism and insult 
for the entire Tourgee family. 

After fourteen years in the South, Tourgee understandably 
concluded that for the duration of his life neither he nor his 
principles would be anything but alien there, and in 1879 he 
returned to the North. His departure was to prove less an 
abandonment than a redirecting of the past crusade, as he then 
began a literary career that long nurtured and exploited his 
Reconstruction memories and goals. 

For many years literature had been one of Tourgee's major 
interests, and throughout his Reconstruction experiences he had 
produced an intermittent flow of speeches, articles, and poems on 
social and political conditions in the South. In 1874 he had 
published, anonymously, a mildly successful first novel, Toinette: 
A Tale of the South, which like much of his subsequent fiction 
was primarily concerned with the illogic and injustice of the race 
prejudice fostered by slavery. The heroine of the tale, Toinette, is 
a young lady of remarkable beauty and talent who is cruelly 
victimized, especially by her lover and former owner, because of 
a slight touch of African ancestry. Following the Civil War, the 
freed Toinette refuses to continue an illicit relationship with her 
former owner, while his racist convictions prohibit the honorable 
fulfillment of their mutual love. But finally love and need do 
conquer prejudice, and the novel concludes on what appears to 
be the verge of an intended interracial marriage. Freedom had 
demanded and, in this instance, achieved increased rights for the 
Afro-American and the capitulation of the prejudice of the 
white. 

A month after Tourgee left the South, his second novel, Figs 
and Thistles (1879), appeared, and six weeks later the anony- 



xii Introduction 

mous A Fool's Errand by One of the Fools ( 1879) . The former 
work, set in the North, was of little significance, but the latter, a 
thrilling and largely autobiographical account of Reconstruction 
was a literary triumph. The Fool, like Tourgee, was an educated 
Yankee of French origin, who traveled South for reasons similar 
to those of his literary creator, behaved in similar fashion, and 
endured similar adventure, failure, and success. Marking a high 
point in Tourgee's powers of thought and prose, the work ap- 
peared at a moment when the nation was still in a quandry 
respecting southern events over the preceding fifteen years and 
offered the populace an astute and entertaining account of the 
Reconstruction dilemma. The nation's press and soon its citizenry 
were carried away by the exciting and convincing narrative of 
the Fool; with sales approaching 150,000 the book became the 
best seller of its day, bringing its author sudden fortune and 
fame. 

Soon persuaded by his delighted publishers to produce a sec- 
ond Reconstruction novel, Tourgee worked hurriedly from ear- 
lier portions of manuscript to produce Bricks Without Straw, 
which appeared within the year. While A Fool's Errand, focusing 
upon the experiences of a carpetbagger and the clash between 
the values of radical Republicanism and the racist South, had 
analyzed the failure of Reconstruction, this second novel concen- 
trated instead upon the problems and continuing dilemma of the 
freed slaves. 

The pioneering and still pertinent literary achievement of 
Bricks Without Straw was its repudiation of racist stereotypes 
and effective portrayal of the essential humanity of the freed 
black slaves. The freedmen were not, of course, simply whites in 
black skins, but they were, Tourgee insisted, sensitive and ra- 
tional human beings with problems, fears, and aspirations like 
other humans. The blacks in this tale consciously contribute to 
the defeat of the Confederacy, eagerly grasp the promises of 
Reconstruction, and make a final sad and reluctant adjustment to 



Introduction xiii 

the realities of a very limited freedom. The distinction between 
whites and blacks which emerges is essentially one that is histori- 
cal, while the problem that this distinction invoked was not so 
much one of condition as of the ingrained prejudice of the 
whites. 

Although it is true that the Negroes in this tale are, like all of 
Tourgee's fictional characters, somewhat idealized, the portrai- 
ture is realistic and succeeds in conveying a true sense of the 
trials and accomplishments of a severely handicapped black pop- 
ulation caught in the oppressive racist environment of the post- 
war South. The ignorance and ineffectuality, the emotionalism 
and mistakes of the former slaves are freely depicted, but the 
manhood of the blacks is also fully recognized and maintained, 
and the rationalizations of a cruel white racism are often satiri- 
cally crushed. Tourgee sharply delineated the callous brutalities 
and subtle stratagems of white supremacy, he acknowledged the 
kindliness, as well as severe limitations, that characterized the 
paternalism of the southern aristocracy, and he commented, too, 
upon a less carefully proscribed racism that was spreading rap- 
idly among the mass of whites. In his treatment of the confused 
adjustments to freedom and the everlasting travail of the illiter- 
ate but able freedman Nimbus "Ware, Tourgee achieved some of 
his most powerful and perceptive writing. And in his portrayal 
of Nimbus' frustrated valor, the good-natured resignation of the 
field hand Berry Lawson, and the educational endeavors of the 
crippled mulatto preacher Eliab Hill, he touched upon currents 
of thought that would vitally concern Afro- Americans for gener- 
ations to come. Tourgee's literary conceptions are extremely 
persuasive throughout, and his conclusions constitute the invalu- 
able testimony of an astute and reliable observer of the actual 
Reconstruction scene. 

Under the leadership of Nimbus and Eliab Hill, the freed 
people of Bricks Without Straw begin their postwar experience 
by rather successfully exploiting the educational, economic, and 



xiv Introduction 

political opportunities of freedom. But while Yankee optimists 
thus "enthusiastically prophesied the rapid rise and miraculous 
development of the colored race under the impetus of free 
schools and free thought," most southern whites "only saw in it a 
prospect of more 'sassy niggers,' like Nimbus Ware, who was a 
good enough nigger, but mighty aggravating to the white 
folks.' " Such prejudice combines with economic and political 
selfishness to create among the whites an overpowering resistance 
to Negro advancement. The inherent weakness of the black 
response to this resistance is symbolized by the illiteracy of the 
heroic Nimbus Ware and the physical deformity of the more 
educated Eliab Hill. The absurd Reconstruction strategy of the 
victorious North had entrusted admirable goals to the poor and 
weak and a few idealists, who were opposed by the overwhelm- 
ing intelligence, power, and wealth of an impossibly racist South, 
and the South was inevitably "redeemed." 

Reconstruction thus failed, but the problem of race relations 
remained. A suggested new remedy is presented through the 
aristocratic white southerner Hesden Le Moyne, who is suffi- 
ciently impressed by postwar experiences and the Yankee school 
marm to repudiate racism and marry her and her cause. Hesden's 
conversion, like his mother Hester's death, anticipates the even- 
tual passing of racism in the South, but there is no immediate 
hope offered of any revival of Reconstruction reform. Instead, 
the poor white and black militant Republicans in Tourgee's 
fiction are all killed or driven from the South, while Hesden and 
his wife remain, along with the Negro teacher Eliab Hill, to 
continue a slower educational struggle. Le Moyne, perceiving 
that the ignorance of both whites and blacks is contributing to 
the persistence of both white supremacy and undemocratic 
government in the South, proposes a long range remedy of 
federal aid to education — "Not my remedy, but the only remedy, 
is to educate the people until they shall be wise enough to know 
what they ought to do, and brave enough and strong enough to 
do it." 



Introduction xv 

To some extent this novel suggests a slight retreat on the part 
of Tourgee. Political radicalism is abandoned; certain barriers to 
interracial intimacy are touched upon ( an obvious contrast to the 
theme of Toinette ) ; and Mollie and Hesden epitomize a pater- 
nalistic approach to the freed population of the South. When 
Toinette was reissued soon thereafter, under the new title A 
Royal Gentleman (1881), the original and widely condemned 
"miscegenationist" ending was dropped. 

Aided by the fame its author already had won, Bricks Without 
Straw was another popular success, widely heralded by the com- 
mercial and religious press. Its educational remedy corresponded 
to and encouraged the growing popularity of a moderate ap- 
proach to the problem of race, and something of the work's 
impact was suggested by its sales, which approached fifty thou- 
sand within a few months of its appearance. But Bricks Without 
Straw had been hurriedly written, and its success was less and its 
blemishes greater than those of the volume that had preceded it. 
Excessive romanticism, a sometimes absurdly contrived plot, and 
the extreme idealization of the Yankee school teacher Mollie 
Ainslie especially antagonized critics and did detract from the 
value of the work. But whatever its weaknesses. Bricks Without 
Straw retained great attractiveness and merit. It entranced many 
eager readers when it first appeared, its characters and Recon- 
struction details were original and often superbly drawn, and it 
continues to deserve an audience and serious attention today. 
Perhaps the keenest comment was that made by a reviewer for 
the Chicago Advance, who found the work "so good that it 
ought to have been better." 

Over the following three years Tourgee completed what be- 
came a six-volume set of fiction on the origins and aftermath of 
the Civil "War. His two masterpieces remained, however, A 
Fool's Errand and Bricks Without Straw. Tourgee had much to 
say in these two novels, and he said it powerfully and well. Much 
of the entire story of Reconstruction is there — the postwar confu- 
sion and suffering of all classes, the issues of unionism, race 



xvi Introduction 

relations, and reform, the various contesting forces, the terrors of 
the Klan, and the final sad defeat. His partisan thesis, and it 
remains a defensible one, was that southern society had been and 
was still in annoying conflict with freedom, equality, and eco- 
nomic progress, all of which Tourgee identified to some extent 
with God, the nation, and the inevitable course of human evolu- 
tion. 

Within the limits imposed by this unconcealed commitment, 
Tourgee dealt fairly and critically with both sections of the 
nation, revealing a remarkable empathy for his southern foes. 
Because of his affinity for the southern chivalrous creed, he 
succeeded in understanding southern whites as few outside ob- 
servers did, and because of his nationalist pride in all Americans 
and his faith in the essential goodness of men, he fathomed the 
source and sincerity of beliefs that he himself abhorred. In his 
view, honorable men on each side were following the dictates of 
a conscience imposed by their respective pasts. For this reason, 
despite vivid depictions of racist oppression and Klan terror, 
villainous personalities are lacking in Tourgee's fiction, and his 
ultimate hope rests in the basic morality and reason of all 
mankind. 

The faults in Tourgee's fiction are readily apparent to the 
modern reader — the idealization of character, the unbelievable 
plot, the morality and sentimentalism, and the undisguised ten- 
dentiousness. This lack of finesse may be attributed in part to an 
isolation from the literary profession of his day, which in itself 
reflected the crucial fact that he was more concerned with society 
and with influencing his generation than he was with perpetuat- 
ing his name as an artist or contributing to the novel as an art 
form. 

Recent reconsiderations of Tourgee's fiction have recognized 
these weaknesses but have also applauded his attractive and 
powerful content and style. His vigorous prose succeeds in sus- 
taining interest and in conveying his passion and intensity; his 



Introduction xvii 

dramatic narrative achieves excitement and suspense; and he 
reveals a graceful descriptive skill. 

Tourgee's were the first influential fictional accounts of south- 
ern Reconstruction to appear in print, and they not only effec- 
tively explained that experience but were designed to remind the 
North of its related responsibilities and commitments. Over the 
preceding decade, however, northern leaders had become increas- 
ingly disillusioned with the enfranchisement of the southern 
freedmen. Their enfranchisement, rather than solving the prob- 
lem of the South, had become a source of embarrassment to the 
Republican Party and was serving to perpetuate sectional dis- 
cord. Therefore, with the Hayes-Tilden presidential compromise 
of 1877, northern Republicans turned their backs upon the 
former slaves and sought a new national harmony by catering to 
the de facto power of the white supremacist South. Tourgee's 
novels sought to check the extent of this change and to refute 
much of its rationale, a rationale based upon powerful traditions 
of racism and states' rights and one which had been widely 
disseminated by the nation's newspapers and magazines and by 
the books of such journalists as James S. Pike, Edward King, and 
Charles Nordhoff. 

Although Tourgee was the first to deal effectively as a novelist 
with Reconstruction and with the race problem in that setting, 
his interest in the oppressed Afro-American was by no means 
new to American literature, being most obviously preluded by 
Harriet Beecher Stowe's antebellum classic, Uncle Tom's Cabin 
(1852). Tourgee continued the compassionate tradition of that 
work and extended beyond it in his treatment of both the Negro 
and southern racism. But during the same years that his novels 
appeared, another sympathetic and more delicate delineation of 
southern blacks, in an earlier antebellum setting, was presented 
by George Washington Cable's Old Creole Days (1879) and 
The Grandissimes (1880), and three years later Mark Twain's 
Huckleberry Finn (1883), with its incomparable Jim, was pub- 



xviii Introduction 

lished. There was a sophistication of Negro character creation in 
these works by Cable and Twain that Tourgee did not match; 
nor did Tourgee succeed in encompassing the total condition of 
the southern blacks, a condition that included degradation as 
well as aspiration and the negative or vicious as well as the 
positive response. Nevertheless, Tourgee's portrayals remain 
among the most successful depictions of the Reconstruction 
freedmen available to this day, although his primary concern had 
never been diversity or development of character. His concern 
had been to destroy specific racist and Reconstruction myths and 
to portray the general aspirations and accomplishments of an 
entire oppressed people. His intent, and much of the substance of 
his success, was broadly ideological; his subsequent eclipse was 
even more so. 

The national debate into which Tourgee so effectively entered 
with his fiction remained of some substance for the remainder of 
the century, but because his views, like those of Cable, opposed 
the national trend they were increasingly ignored. Writers who 
now rose to prominence were those endorsing a national recon- 
ciliation based upon the racist demands of the white South, and 
the most influential of these were white southerners like Joel 
Chandler Harris, Thomas Nelson Page, and Thomas Dixon, Jr., 
who did much to establish a mythology that dominated the 
nation's thought about the South for decades to come. At times it 
seemed as if these writers were directly combating Tourgee as 
they wrote of terrible carpetbaggers and scalawags, of an almost 
wholly evil Reconstruction, of the docile contentment or danger- 
ous bestiality of the blacks, and of the vital and always kindly 
supremacy of the whites. And only nine years after the phenom- 
enal success of A Fool's Errand, Tourgee conceded the popular 
triumph of these opponents in his well known article for the 
Forum, "The South as a Field for Fiction." Tourgee spoke also in 
this article of the ultimate promise of a great and truthful 
literature about the South, and he had, perhaps, already made 



Introduction xix 

some contribution to that promise himself. There was a verity, 
ability, and balance in Tourgee's description of Reconstruction 
that diflfered markedly from the balderdash on that era presented 
by such writers as Dixon and Page. In many respects Tourgee 
dealt more effectively with Reconstruction than any novelist of 
that time or since. He captured much of the real tone of an age, 
and his conclusions regarding the blacks and the postwar South 
continue to gain currency and respect. 

By the early i88o's Tourgee's fictional accounts of the South 
were completed, but his involvement with the race problem 
persisted. Temperament and experience equipped him well to 
resent and resist the abandonment and growing oppression of the 
nation's black population over the years that followed; it may be 
no exaggeration to state that during that time he became the 
most militant, vocal, persistent, and widely heard advocate — 
black or white — of racial equality in the United States. He 
lobbied for federal aid to education and for state and federal civil 
rights legislation. His speeches on the race question were heard by 
thousands yearly, and his articles in behalf of Negro equality 
appeared in such publications as the North American Review, 
the Forum, the New York Tribune, the Congregationalist, Frank 
Leslie's Illustrated Weekly, and the Golden Rule. New editions 
of his older works, together with the publication of several new 
volumes, continued to direct nationwide attention to the problem 
of racial injustice, as did his weekly editorial column in the 
Chicago Inter-Ocean; and he became an influential counselor of 
the nation's black population. In 1891 he established the biracial 
National Citizens' Rights Association, something of a forerunner 
of the NAACP, and his impact among Afro- Americans was such 
that six months after his death in 1905 he was memoralized as 
one of three "Friends of Freedom" honored by W. E. Burghardt 
Du Bois' militant Niagara Movement. The other two were 
William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass. 

This former carpetbagger knew and ably exposed the facts of 



XX Introduction 

racial oppression and the hypocrisy and deception that concealed 
them. With logic and passion, eloquence and anger, hope and 
indignation, he depicted the many origins and manifestations of 
racial prejudice and demolished them all. He insisted upon the 
responsibility of the federal government to remedy the injustices 
of white racism, and he repudiated the fallacious use of states' 
rights principles to justify a betrayal of that responsibility. Just as 
the federal government had preserved the Union, abolished slav- 
ery, and promoted industrialization, so too, should it protect its 
citizenry, especially when that obligation was firmly imposed by 
the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. Militant action by 
blacks and whites would be required to swing the nation in that 
direction, however, and while continuing to endorse economic 
and educational progress among the nation's Negroes, Tourgee 
now warned that "neither wealth nor Christianity will bring 
justice unless joined with the steady, persistent, and resolute 
demand for right." To his country's shame, his efforts were of no 
immediate avail, and the status of the Afro- American continued 
to descend toward a new low. One of Tourgee's final efforts, a 
plea he entered as an attorney before the nation's highest court, 
was rebuffed when that court sanctified legally imposed segrega- 
tion in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896. 

Tourgee's was the tragedy and the glory of championing a just 
cause that an entire civilization betrayed, and his efforts epito- 
mized the more admirable qualities of the humanist radical — an 
unyielding dedication to equality and justice and an abiding faith 
in the inherent righteousness of mankind. Despite the immediate 
failure of his cause, time has verified his claims, and the very 
preservation of our success as a nation now appears to rest, in 
part, upon the ultimate endorsement of his demands. 

Otto H. Olsen 

Northern Illinois University 



Bibliographical Note 

Theodore Gross, Albion W. Tour gee (1963) concentrates upon 
Tourgee's literature and is rather critical. The fullest biography is 
Otto H, Olsen, Carpetbagger's Crusade: The Life of Albion Winegar 
Tour gee (Baltimore, 1965), which includes a bibliography on both 
Tourgee and Reconstruction. An older short and unsympathetic biog- 
raphy is Roy F. Dibble, Albion W. Tourgee (New York, 1921 ) , and 
for additional bibliographical data see Dean H. Keller, "A Checklist 
of the Writings of Albion W. Tourgee (i 838-1905)," Studies in 
Bibliography, XVIII (1965), 269-79. 

Present day interest in Tourgee was revived with Russel B. Nye, 
"Judge Tourgee and Reconstruaion," Ohio State Archaelogical and 
Historical Quarterly, L (1941), 101-14. Appreciation of his litera- 
ture took a decisive turn with George J. Becker, "Albion "W. Tour- 
gee: Pioneer in Social Criticism," American Literature, XIX ( 1947), 
59-72, and reached its most significant expression in Edmund Wil- 
son, Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil 
War (New York, 1962). See also Alexander Cowie, The Rise of the 
American Novel (New York, 1948), and the introductions by John 
Hope Franklin and George Frederickson to reprint editions of 
Tourgee's A Fool's Errand by Harvard University Press and Harper 
& Row, Publishers. 

The following are among the more significant of Tourgee's sixteen 
volumes of fiction: John Eax and Mamelon; or, the South Without 
the Shadow (New York, 1882), two stories avoiding the race issue 
and endorsing the Cavalier tradition; Hot Plowshares, A Novel 
(New York, 1883), an interpretation of the approach of the Civil 
War; Pactolus Prime (New York, 1890), a bitter condemnation of 
Christian racism; and Murvale Eastman: Christian Socialist (New 
York, 1890), an effective consideration of the economic problems of 
industrial society, which is second in importance only to Tourgee's 
Reconstruction novels. 

The following reproduction of Bricks Without Straw is faithful 
to the original. Only a few obvious printing errors have been 
changed. In the interest of authenticity the word Negro has not 
been capitalized, although Tourgee himself was an early champion 
of the proper capitalization of the word. E.g., see the Detroit 
Plaindealer, January 13, 1893. 

xxi 



Bricks Without Straw 



A Novel 



ALBION W. TOURGEE, LL.D., 

Late Judge of the Superior Court of North Carolina, Author of 

"A FooVs Errand" "Figs and Thisllcs," 

"The Cede, with Notes" etc. 



*Go there/tre now, and work ; /or there shall no straw be given you, yet shall 
ye deliver the tale of britks." — Exodus v. i8. 



NEW YORK: 
FORDS, HOWARD, & HULBERT 

London : Sampson Low & Co. Montreal: Dawson Bros. 
\An Rights Keserved^ 

Title page for the original edition 



THIS VOLUME 
I GRATEFULLY DEDICATE TO 



<My Wife 



TO WHOSE UNFLINCHING COURAGE, 

UNFALTERING FAITH, UNFAILING CHEER, 

AND STEADFAST LOVE, 

I OWE MORE THAN MANY VOLUMES 

MIGHT DECLARE 



TRANSLATION 

{From an ancient Egyptian Papyrus-Roll, recently discovered."] 

It came to pass that when Pharaoh had made an end of giving 
commandment that the children of Israel should deliver the daily 
tale of bricks, but should not be furnished with any straw 
wherewith to make them, but should instead go into the fields 
i and gather such stubble as might be left therein, that Neoncapos, 
I the king's jester, laughed. 

And when he was asked whereat he laughed, he answered, At 
I the king's order. 

And thereupon he laughed the more. 

Then was Pharaoh, the king, exceeding wroth, and he gave 

commandment that an owl be given to Neoncapos, the king's 

I jester, and that he be set forth without the gate of the king's 

j palace, and that he be forbidden to return, or to speak to any in 

all the land, save only unto the owl which had been given him, 

. until such time as the bird should answer and tell him what he 

should say. 

Then they that stood about the king, and all who saw Neonca- 
pos, cried out. What a fool's errand is this! So that the saying 
remains even unto this day. 

Nevertheless, upon the next day came Neoncapos again into 
the presence of Pharaoh, the king. 

Then was Pharaoh greatly astonished, and he said, How is 
this? Hath the bird spoken? 

I And Neoncapos, the king's jester, bowed himself unto the 
■earth, and said, He hath, my lord. 



xxvi Translation 

Then was Pharaoh, the king, filled with amazement, and said, 
Tell me what he hath said unto thee. 

And Neoncapos raised himself before the king, and answered 
him, and said: 

As I went out upon the errand whereunto thou hadst sent me 
forth, I remembered thy commandment to obey it. And I spake 
only unto the bird which thou gavest me, and said unto him: 

There was a certain great king which held a people in bond- 
age, and set over them taskmasters, and required of them all the 
bricks that they could make, man for man, and day by day; 

For the king was in great haste seeking to build a palace 
which should be greater and nobler than any in the world, and 
should remain to himself and his children a testimony of his 
glory forever. 

And it came to pass, at length, that the king gave command- 
ment that no more straw should be given unto them that made 
the bricks, but that they should still deliver the tale which had 
been aforetime required of them. 

And thereupon the king's jester laughed. 

Because he said to himself. If the laborers have not straw 
wherewith to attemper the clay, but only stubble and chaff 
gathered from the fields, will not the bricks be ill-made and lack 
strength and symmetry of form, so that the wall made thereof 
will not be true and strong, or fitly joined together? 

For the lack of a little straw it may be that the palace of the 
great king will fall upon him and all his people that dwell 
therein. Thereupon the king was wroth with his fool, and his 
countenance was changed, and he spake harshly unto him, and— 

It matters not what thou saidst unto the bird, said the king. 
What did the bird say unto thee? 

The bird, said Neoncapos, bowing himiself low before the 
king, the bird, my lord, looked at me in great amaze, and cried 
again and again, in an exceeding loud voice: Who! Who-o! 
Who-o-o! 



Translation xxvii 

Then was Pharaoh exceeding wroth, and his anger burned 
within him, and he commanded that the fool should be taken 
and bound with cords, and cast into prison, while he should 
consider of a fit punishment for his impudent words. 

Note. — ^A script attached to this manuscript, evidently of later 
date, informs us that the fool escaped the penalty of his folly by 
the disaster at the Red Sea. 




CONTENTS 



Introduction, by Otto H. Olsen vii 

Tri-nominate 3 

The Font 7 

The Junonian Rite 19 

Mars Meddles 22 

Nunc Pro Tunc 27 

The Toga Virilis 33 

Damon and Pythias 42 

8 A Friendly Prologue 50 

9 A Bruised Reed 55 

10 An Express Trust 61 

11 Red Wing 67 

12 On the Way to Jericho 76 

13 Negotiating a Treaty 86 
,14 Born of the Storm 92 
15 To Him and His Heirs Forever 102 
116 A Child of the Hills 105 
17 Good-morrow and Farewell 109 
I18 "Prime Wrappers" 118 
19 The Shadow of the Flag 127 

xxix 



XXX Contents 

20 Phantasmagoria 140 

21 A Child-man 143 

22 How THE Fallow Was Seeded 152 

23 An Offering of First-fruits 158 

24 A Black Democritus 164 

25 A Double-headed Argument 171 

26 Taken at His Word 177 

27 Motes in the Sunshine 189 

28 In the Path of the Storm 194 

29 Like and Unlike 199 

30 An Unbidden Guest 208 

31 A Life for a Life 212 

32 A Voice from the Darkness 217 

33 A Difference of Opinion 224 

34 The Majesty of the Law 232 

35 A Particular Tenancy Lapses 238 

36 The Beacon-light of Love 242 

37 The "Best Friends" Reveal Themselves 251 

38 "The Rose Above the Mould" 258 

39 What the Mist Hid 265 

40 Dawning 272 

41 Q. E. D. 276 

42 Through a Cloud-rift 282 

43 A Glad Good-by 286 

44 Putting This and That Together 289 

45 Another Ox Gored 298 

46 Backward and Forward . 307 

47 Breasting the Torrent 315 



Contents xxxi 

48 The Price of Honor 323 

49 Highly Resolved 331 

50 Face Answereth to Face 338 

51 How Sleep the Brave? 349 

52 Redeemed out of the House of Bondage 356 

53 In the Cyclone 360 

54 A Bolt out of the Cloud 371 

55 An Unconditional Surrender 383 

56 Some Old Letters 388 

57 A Sweet and Bitter Fruitage 398 

58 Coming to the Front 408 

59 The Shuttlecock of Fate 417 

60 The Exodian 426 

61 What Shall the End Be? 437 

62 How? 447 



BRICKS 

WITHOUT 

STRAW 



I • Tri-nominate 



"Wal, I 'clar, now, jes de quarest ting ob 'bout all dis matter o' 
freedom is de way dat it sloshes roun' de names 'mong us cullud 
folks. H'yer I lib ober on de Hyco twenty year er mo' — nobody 
but ole Marse Potem an' de Lor', an' p'raps de Debbie beside 
know 'zackly how long it mout hev been — an' didn't hev but one 
name in all dat yer time. An' I didn't hev no use for no mo 
neither, kase dat wuz de one ole Mahs'r gib me hisself, an' 
nobody on de libbin' yairth nebber hed no sech name afo' an' 
nebber like to agin. Dat wuz allers de way ub ole Mahs'r's names 
Dey used ter say dat he an' de Debbie made 'em up togedder 
while he wuz dribin' roun' in dat ole gig 'twixt de diff'ent 
plantations — on de Dan an' de Ro'noke, an' all 'bout what de ole 
cuss could fine a piece o' cheap Ian', dat would do ter raise 
niggers on an' pay for bringin' up, at de same time. He was a 
powerful smart man in his day, wuz ole Kunnel Potem Desmit; 
but he speshully did beat anythin' a findin' names fer niggers. I 
reckon now, ef he'd 'a hed forty thousan' cullud folks, men an' 
wimmen, dar wouldn't ha' been no two on 'em hevin' de same 
name. Dat's what folks used ter say 'bout him, ennyhow. Dey sed 
he used ter say ez how he wasn't gwine ter hev his niggers mixed 
up wid nobody else's namin', an' he wouldn't no mo' 'low ob one 
black feller callin' ob anudder by enny nickname ner nothin' ub 
dat kine, on one o' his plantations, dan he would ob his takin' a 
mule, nary bit. Dey du say dat when he used ter buy a boy er gal 
de berry fust ting he wuz gwine ter du wuz jes ter hev 'em up an' 



4 Bricks Without Straw 

gib 'em a new name, out 'n out, an' a clean suit ob close ter 
'member it by; an' den, jes by way ob a little 'freshment, he used 
ter make de oberseer gib 'em ten er twenty good licks, jes ter 
make sure ob der fergittin' de ole un dat dey'd bed afo'. Dat's 
what my mammy sed, an' she allers 'clar'd dat tow'rd de las' she 
nebber could 'member what she was at de fus' no more'n ef she 
hedn't been de same gal. 

"All he wanted ter know 'bout a nigger wuz jes his name, an' 
dey say he could tell straight away when an' whar he wuz born, 
whar he'd done lived, an' all 'bout him. He war a powerful man 
in der way ob names, shore. Some on 'em wuz right quare, but 
den again mos' all on 'em wuz right good, an' it war powerful 
handy hevin' no two on 'em alike. I've heard tell dat a heap o' 
folks wuz a takin' up wid his notion, an' I reckon dat ef de 
s'rrender hed only stood off long 'nuff dar wouldn't 'a been nary 
two niggers in de whole State hevin' de same names. Dat would, 
hev been handy, all roun'! 

"When dat come, though, old Mahs'r's plan warn't nowhar. 
Lor' bress my soul, how de names did come a-brilin' roun'! I'd 
done got kinder used ter mine, hevin' hed it so long an' nebber 
knowin' myself by any udder, so't I didn't like ter change. 'Sides 
dat, I couldn't see no use. I'd allers got 'long well 'nuff wid it — all 
on'y jes once, an' dat ar wuz so long ago I'd nigh about forgot it. 
Dat showed what a debblish cute plan dat uv ole Mahs'r's was, 
though. 

"Lemme see, dat er wuz de fus er secon' year atter I wuz a 
plow-boy. Hit wuz right in de height ob de season, an' Marse 
War' — dat was de oberseer — he sent me to der Cou't House ob 
an ebenin' to do some sort ob arrant for him. When I was a 
comin' home, jes about an hour ob sun, I rides up wid a sort o' 
hard-favored man in a gig, an' he looks at me an' at de hoss, 
when I goes ter ride by, mighty sharp like; an' fust I knows he 
axes me my name; an' I tole him. An' den he axes whar I lib; an' 
I tole him, " 'On de Knapp-o'-Reeds plantation.' Den he say, 

" 'Who you b'long to, ennyhow, boy?' 



Tri-nominate 5 

"An' I tole him "Ole Marse Potem Desmit, sah' — jes so like. 

"Den he sez, 'Who's a oberseein' dar now?' 

"An I sez, 'Marse Si War', sah?' 

"Den he sez, 'An' how do all de han's on Knapp-o'-Reeds git 
'long wid ole Marse Potem an' Marse Si War'?' 

"An' I sez, 'Oh, we gits 'long tol'able well wid Marse War', 
sah.' 

"An' he sez, 'How yer likes old Marse Potem?' 

"An' I sez, jes fool like, 'We don't like him at all, sah.' 

"An he sez, 'Why?' 

"An I sez, 'Dunno sah.' 

"An' he sez, 'Don't he feed?' 

"An I sez, 'Tol'able, I spose.' 

"An' he sez, 'Whip much?' 

"An I sez, 'Mighty little, sah.' 

"An' he sez, 'Work hard?' 

"An I sez, "Yes, moderate, sah.' 

"An' he sez, 'Eber seed him?' 

"An' I sez, 'Not ez I knows on, sah.' 

"An he sez, 'What for don't yer like him, den?' 

"An' I sez, 'Dunno, on'y jes' kase he's sech a gran' rascal.' 

"Den he larf fit ter kill, an' say, 'Dat's so, dat's so, boy.' Den he 
take out his pencil an' write a word er two on a slip o' paper an' 
say, 

" 'H'yer, boy, yer gibs dat ter Marse Si War', soon ez yer gits 
home. D'yer heah?' 

"I tole him, 'Yes, sah,' an' comes on home an' gibs dat ter 
Marse Si. Quick ez he look at it he say, 'What you git dat, boy?* 
An' when I tole him he sez, 'You know who dat is? Dat's old 
Potem Desmit! What you say to him, you little fool?' 

"Den I tell Marse War' all 'bout it, an' he lay down in de yard 
an' larf fit ter kill. All de same he gib me twenty licks 'cordin' ter 
de orders on dat little dam bit o' paper. An' I nebber tink o' dat 
widout cussin', sence. 

"Dat ar, now am de only time I ebber fault my name. Now 



6 Bricks Without Straw 

what I want ter change it fer, er what I want ob enny mo'? I 
don't want 'em. An' I tell 'em so, ebbery time too, but dey 'jes 
fo'ce em on me like, an' what'll I do 'bout it, I dunno. H'yer I'se 
got — lemme see — one — two — tree! Fo' God, I don' know how 
many names I he2 got! I'm dod-dinged now ef I know who I be 
ennyhow. Ef ennybody ax me I'd jes hev ter go back ter ole 
Mahs'r's name an' stop, kase I swar I wouldn't know which ob de 
udders ter pick an' chuse from. 

"I specs its all 'long o' freedom, though I can't see why a free 
nigger needs enny mo' name dan the same one hed in ole slave 
times. Mus' be, though. I mind now dat all de pore white folks 
hez got some two tree names, but I alius thought dat wuz 'coz 
dey hedn't nufEn' else ter call dere own. Must be a free feller 
needs mo' name, somehow. Ef I keep on I reckon I'll git enuflF 
atter a while. H'yer it's gwine on two year only sence de 
s'rrender, an' I'se got tree ob 'em sartain!" 

The speaker was a colored man, standing before his loghouse 
in the evening of a day in June. His wife was the only listener to 
the monologue. He had been examining a paper which was 
sealed and stamped with official formality, and which had started 
him upon the train of thought he had pursued. The question he 
was trying in vain to answer was only the simplest and easiest of 
the thousand strange queries which freedom had so recently 
propounded to him and his race. 



1. ' The Font 



Knapp-of-Reeds was the name of a plantation which was one 
of the numerous possessions of P. Desmit, Colonel and Esquire, 
of the county of Horsford, in the northernmost of those States 
which good Queen Caroline was fortunate enough to have desig- 
nated as memorials of her existence. The plantation was just 
upon that wavy line which separates the cotton region of the east 
from the tobacco belt that sweeps down the pleasant ranges of 
the Piedmont region, east of the Blue Appalachians. Or, to speak 
more correctly, the plantation was in that indeterminate belt 
which neither of the great staples could claim exclusively as its 
own — that delectable land where every conceivable product of 
the temperate zone grows, if not in its rankest luxuriance, at least 
in perfection and abundance. Tobacco on the hillsides, corn upon 
the wide bottoms, cotton on the gray uplands, and wheat, oats, 
fruits, and grasses everywhere. Five hundred acres of hill and 
bottom, forest and field, with what was termed the Island, con- 
sisting of a hundred more, which had never been overflowed in 
the century of cultivation it had known, constituted a snug and 
valuable plantation. It had been the seat of an old family once, 
but extravagant living and neglect of its resources had compelled 
its sale, and it had passed into the hands of its present owner, of 
whose vast possessions it formed an insignificant part. 

Colonel Desmit was one of the men who applied purely 
business principles to the opportunities which the South afforded 
in the olden time, following everything to its logical conclusion, 
and measuring every opportunity by its money value. He was not 
of an ancient family. Indeed, the paternal line stopped short with 
his own father, and the maternal one could only show one more 
link, and then became lost in malodorous tradition which hung 



8 Bricks Without Straw 

about an old mud-daubed log-cabin on the most poverty-stricken 
portion of Nubbin Ridge. 

There was a rumor that the father had a left-handed kinship 
with the Bmtons, a family of great note in the public annals of 
the State. He certainly showed qualities which tended to confirm 
this tradition, and abilities which entitled him to be considered 
the peer of the best of that family, whose later generations were 
by no means the equals of former ones. Untiring and unscrupu- 
lous, Mr. Peter Smith rose from the position of a nameless son 
of an unknown father, to be as overseer for one of the wealthiest 
proprietors of that region, and finally, by a not unusual turn of 
fortune's wheel, became the owner of a large part of his em- 
ployer's estates. Thrifty in all things, he married in middle life, 
so well as nearly to double the fortune then acquired, and before 
his death had become one of the wealthiest men in his county. 
He was always hampered by a lack of education. He could read 
little and write less. In his later days he was appointed a Justice 
of the Peace, and was chosen one of the County Court, or "Court 
of Pleas and Quarter Sessions," as it was technically called. These 
honors were so pleasant to him that he determined to give his 
only son a name which should commemorate this event. The 
boy was, therefore, christened after the opening words of his 
commission of the peace, and grew to manhood bearing the 
name Potestatem Dedimus * Smith. This son was educated with 
care — the shrewd father feeling his own need — but was early 
instilled with his father's greed for gain, and the necessity for 
unusual exertion if he would achieve equal position with the old 
families who were to be his rivals. 

The young man proved a worthy disciple of his father. He 
married, it is true, without enhancing his fortune; but he secured 
what was worth almost as much for the promotion of his pur- 

* Potestatem dedimus: "We give thee power, etc." The initial words 
of the clause conferring jurisdiction upon officers, in the old forms of ; 
judicial commissions. This name is fact, not fancy. 



The Font 9 

poses as if he had doubled his belongings. Aware of the ill-effects 
of so recent a bar sinister in his armorial bearings, he sought in 
marriage Miss Bertha Bellamy, of Belleville, in the State of 
Virginia, who united in her azure veins at least a few drops of 
the blood of all the first families of that fine-bred aristocracy, 
from Pocahontas's days until her own. The role of the gentleman 
had been too much for the male line of the Bellamys to sustain. 
Horses and hounds and cards and high living had gradually 
eaten down their once magnificent patrimony, until pride and 
good blood and poverty were the only dowry that the females 
could command. Miss Bertha, having already arrived at the age 
of discretion, found that to match this against the wealth of 
young Potestatem Dedimus Smith was as well as she could hope 
to do, and accepted him upon condition that the vulgar Smith 
should be changed to some less democratic name. 

The one paternal and two maternal ancestors had not made 
the very common surname peculiarly sacred to the young man, so 
the point was yielded; and by considerable persistency on the 
part of the young wife, "P. D. Smith" was transformed without 
much trouble into "P. Desmit," before the administrator had 
concluded the settlement of his father's estate. 

The vigor with which the young man devoted himself to 
affairs and the remarkable success which soon began to attend his 
exertions diverted attention from the name, and before he had 
reached middle life he was known over almost half the State as 
"Colonel Desmit," "Old Desmit," or "Potem Desmit," according 
to the degree of familiarity or respect desired to be displayed. 
Hardly anybody remembered and none alluded to the fact that 
the millionaire of Horsford was only two removes from Old Sal 
Smith of Nubbin Ridge. On the other hand the rumor that he 
was in some mysterious manner remotely akin to the Brutons 
was industriously circulated by the younger members of that 
high-bred house, and even "the Judge," who was of about the 
same age as Colonel Desmit, had been heard more than once to 



10 Bricks Without Straw 

call him "Cousin." These things affected Colonel Desmit but 
little. He had set himself to improve his father's teachings and 
grow rich. He seemed to have the true Midas touch. He added 
acre to acre, slave to slave, business to business, until his posses- 
sions were scattered from the mountains to the sea, and especially 
extended on both sides the border line in the Piedmont region 
where he had been bred. It embraced every form of business 
known to the community of which he was a part, from the cattle 
ranges of the extreme west to the fisheries of the farthest east. He 
made his possessions a sort of self-supporting commonwealth in 
themselves. The cotton which he grew on his eastern farms was 
manufactured at his own factory, and distributed to his various 
plantations to be made into clothing for his slaves. Wheat and 
corn and meat, raised upon some of his plantations, supplied 
others devoted to non-edible staples. The tobacco grown on the 
Hyco and other plantations in that belt was manufactured at his 
own establishment, supplied his eastern laborers and those which 
wrought in the pine woods to the southward at the production of 
naval supplies. He had realized the dream of his own life and the 
aspiration of his father, the overseer, and had become one of the 
wealthiest men in the State. But he attended to all this himself. 
Every overseer knew that he was liable any day or night to 
receive a visit from the untiring owner of all this wealth, who 
would require an instant accounting for every bit of the property 
under his charge. Not only the presence and condition of every 
slave, mule, horse or other piece of stock must be accounted for, 
but the manner of its employment stated. He was an inflexible 
disciplinarian, who gave few orders, hated instructions, and only 
asked results. It was his custom to place an agent in charge of a 
business without directions, except to make it pay. His only care 
was to see that his property did not depreciate, and that the 
course adopted by the agent was one likely to produce good ; 
results. So long as this was the case he was satisfied. He never i 
interfered, made no suggestions, found no fault. As soon as he 



The Font ii 

became dissatisfied the agent was removed and another substi- 
tuted. This was done without words or controversy, and it was a 
well-known rule that a man once discharged from such a trust 
could never enter his employ again. For an overseer to be dis- 
missed by Colonel Desmit was to forfeit all chance for employ- 
ment in that region, since it was looked upon as a certificate 
either of incapacity or untmstworthiness. 

Colonel Desmit was especially careful in regard to his slaves. 
His father had early shown him that no branch of business was, 
or could be, half so profitable as the rearing of slaves for market. 

"A healthy slave woman," the thrifty father had been accus- 
tomed to say, "will yield a thousand per cent upon her value, 
while she needs less care and involves less risk than any other 
species of property." The son, with a broader knowledge, had 
carried his father's instructions to more accurate and scientific 
results. He found that the segregation of large numbers of slaves 
upon a single plantation was not favorable either to the most 
rapid multiplication or economy of sustenance. He had carefully 
determined the fact that plantations of moderate extent, upon 
the high, well-watered uplands of the Piedmont belt, were the 
most advantageous locations that could be found for the rearing 
of slaves. Such plantations, largely worked by female slaves, 
could be made to return a small profit on the entire investment, 
without at all taking into account the increase of the human 
stock. This was, therefore, so much added profit. From careful 
study and observation he had deduced a specific formulary by 
which he measured the rate of gain. With a well-selected force, 
two thirds of which should be females, he calculated that with 
proper care such plantations could be made to pay, year by year, 
an interest of five percent on the first cost, and, in addition, 
double the value of the working force every eight years. This 
conclusion he had arrived at from scientific study of the rates of 
mortality and increase, and in settling upon it he had cautiously 
left a large margin for contingencies. He was not accustomed to 



12 Bricks Without Straw 

talk about his business, but when questioned as to his uniform 
success and remarkable prosperity, always attributed it to a sys- 
tem which he had inexorably followed, and which had never 
failed to return to him at least twenty per cent, per annum upon 
every dollar he had invested. 

So confident was he in regard to the success of this plan that 
he became a large but systematic borrower of money at the legal 
rate of six per cent, taking care that his maturing liabilities 
should, at no time, exceed a certain proportion of his available 
estate. By this means his wealth increased with marvelous 
rapidity. 

The success of his system depended, however, entirely upon 
the care bestowed upon his slaves. They were never neglected. 
Though he had so many that of hundreds of them he did not 
know even the faces, he gave the closest attention to their 
hygienic condition, especially that of the women, who were 
encouraged by every means to bear children. It was a sure 
passport to favor with the master and the overseer: tasks were 
lightened; more abundant food provided; greater liberty en- 
joyed; and on the birth of a child a present of some sort was 
certain to be given the mother. 

The one book which Colonel Desmit never permitted anybody 
else to keep or see was the register of his slaves. He had invented 
for himself an elaborate system by which in a moment he could 
ascertain every element of the value of each of his more than a 
thousand slaves at the date of his last visitation or report. When 
an overseer was put in charge of a plantation he was given a list 
of the slaves assigned to it, by name and number, and was 
required to report every month the condition of each slave 
during the month previous, as to health and temper, and also the 
labor in which the same had been employed each day. If was 
only as to the condition of the slaves that the owner gave explicit ( 
directions to his head-men. "Mighty few people know how to 
take care of a nigger," he was wont to say; and as he made the | 

I 



The Font 13 

race a study and looked to them for his profits, he was attentive 
to their condition. 

Among the requirements of his system was one that each slave 
born upon his plantations should be named only by himself; and 
this was done only on personal inspection. Upon a visit to a 
plantation, therefore, one of his special duties always was to 
inspect, name, and register all slave children who had been born 
to his estate since his previous visitation. 

It was in the summer of 1840 that a traveler drove into the 
grove in front of the house at Knapp-of-Reeds, in the middle of a 
June afternoon, and uttered the usual halloo. He was answered 
after a moment's delay by a colored woman, who came out from 
the kitchen and exclaimed, 

"Who's dah?" 

It was evident at once that visitors were not frequent at 
Knapp-of-Reeds. 

"Where's Mr. Ware?" asked the stranger. 

"He's done gone out in de new-ground terbacker, long wid de 
han's," answered the woman. 

"Where is the new-ground this year?" repeated the questioner. 

"Jes down on the p'int 'twixt de branch an' de Hyco," she 
replied. 

"Anybody you can send for him?" 

"Wal, thar mout be some shaver dat's big enough to go, but 
Marse War's dat keerful ter please Marse Desmit dat he takes 
'em all outen de field afore dey can well toddle," said the woman 
doubtfully. 

"Well, come and take my horse," said he, as he began to 
descend from his gig, "and send for Mr. Ware to come up at 
once." 

The woman came forward doubtfully and took the horse 
by the bit, while the traveler alighted. No sooner did he turn 
fully toward her than her face lighted up with a smile, and she 
said, 



14 Bricks Without Straw 

"Wal, dar, ef dat a'n't Marse Desmit hisseif, I do believe! 
How d'ye do, Mahs'r?" and the woman dropped a courtesy. 

"I'm very well, thank ye, Lorenq^, an' glad to see you looking 
so peart," he responded pleasantly. "How's Mr. Ware and the 
people? All well, I hope." 

"All tol'able, Mahs'r, thank ye." 

"Well, tie the horse, and get me some dinner, gal. I haven't 
eaten since I left home." 

"La sakes!" said the woman in a tone of commiseration, 
though she had no idea whether it was twenty or forty miles he 
had driven since his breakfast. 

The man who sat upon the porch and waited for the coming 
of Mr. Silas Ware, his overseer, was in the prime of life, of florid 
complexion, rugged habit, short stubbly hair — thick and bris- 
tling, that stood close and even on his round, heavy head from a 
little way above the beetling brows well down upon the bull- like 
neck which joined but hardly separated the massive head and 
herculean trunk. This hair, now almost white, had been a yellow- 
ish red, a hue which still showed in the eyebrows and in the stiff 
beard which was allowed to grow beneath the angle of his 
massive jaw, the rest of his face being clean shaven. The eyes 
were deep-sunk and of a clear, cold blue. His mouth broad, with 
firm, solid lips. Dogged resolution, unconquerable will, cold- 
blooded selfishness, and a keen hog-cunning showed in his face, 
while his short, stout form — massive but not fleshy — betrayed a 
capacity to endure fatigue which few men could rival. 

"How d'ye, Mr. Ware?" he said as that worthy came striding 
in from the new-ground nervously chewing a mouthful of 
home-made twist, which he had replenished several times since 
leaving the field, without taking the precaution to provide 
stowage for the quantity he was taking aboard. 

"How d'ye. Colonel?" said Ware uneasily. 

"Reckon you hardly expected me to day?" continued Desmit, 
watching him closely. "No, I dare say not. They hardly ever do. 



The Font 15 

Fact is, I rarely ever know myself long enough before to send 
word." 

He laughed heartily, for his propensity for dropping in una- 
wares upon his agents was so well known that he enjoyed their 
confusion almost as much as he valued the surprise as a means of 
ascertaining their attention to his interests. Ware was one of his 
most trusted lieutenants, however, and everything that he had 
ever seen or heard satisfied him of the man's faithfulness. So he 
made haste to relieve him from embarrassment, for the tall, 
awkward, shambling fellow was perfectly overwhelmed. 

"It's a long time since I've been to see you, Mr, Ware — ^almost 
a year. There's mighty few men I'd let run a plantation that long 
without looking after them. Your reports have been very correct, 
and the returns of your work very satisfactory. I hope the stock 
and hands are in good condition?" 

"I must say. Colonel Desmit," responded Ware, gathering 
confidence, "though perhaps I oughtn't ter say it myself, that I've 
never seen 'em lookin' better. 'Pears like everything hez been jest 
about ez favorable fer hands an' stock as one could wish. The 
spring's work didn't seem ter worry the stock a mite, an' when 
the new feed come on there was plenty on't, an' the very best 
quality. So they shed off ez fine ez ever you see ennything in yer 
life, an' hev jest been a doin' the work in the crop without 
turnin' a hair." 

"Glad to hear it, Mr. Ware," said Desmit encouragingly. 
"And the hands," continued Ware, "have jest been in prime 
condition. We lost Horion, as I reported to you in — lemme see, 
February, I reckon — along o' rheumatism which he done cotch a 
runnin' away from that Navigation Company that you told me to 
send him to work for." 

"Yes, I know. You told him to come home if they took him 
into Virginia, as I directed, I suppose." 

"Certainly, sir," said Ware; "an' ez near ez I can learn they 
took him off way down below Weldon somewheres, an' he lit out 



i6 Bricks Without Straw 

to come home jest at the time of the February 'fresh.' He had to 
steal his way afoot, and was might'ly used up when he got here, 
and died some httle time afterward." 

"Yes. The company will have to pay a good price for him. 
Wasn't a better nor sounder nigger on the river," said Desmit. 

"That ther warn't," replied Ware. "The rest has all been well. 
Lorency had a bad time over her baby, but she's 'round again as 
peart as ever." 

"So I see. And the crops?" 

"The best I've ever seed sence I've been here, Colonel. Never 
had such a stand of terbacker, and the corn looks prime. Knapp- 
of-Reeds has been doin' better 'n' better ever sence I've knowed 
it; but she's jest outdoin' herself this year." 

"Haven't you got anything to drink. Ware?" 

"I beg your parding, Colonel; I was that flustered I done forgot 
my manners altogether," said Ware apologetically. "I hev got a 
drap of apple that they say is right good for this region, and a 
trifle of corn that ain't nothing to brag on, though it does for the 
country right well." 

Ware set out the liquor with a bowl of sugar from his 
sideboard as he spoke, and called to the kitchen for a glass and 
water. 

"That makes me think," said Desmit. "Here, you Lorency, 
bring me that portmanty from the gig." 

When it was brought he unlocked it and took out a bottle, 
which he first held up to the light and gazed tenderly through, 
then drew the cork and smelled of its contents, shook his head 
knowingly, and then handed it to Ware, who went through the 
same performance very solemnly. 

"Here, gal," said Desmit sharply, "bring us another tumbler. 
Now, Mr. Ware," said he unctuously when it had been brought, 
"allow me, sir, to offer you some brandy which is thirty-five years 
old — pure French brandy, sir. Put it in my portmanty specially 
for you, and like to have forgot it at the last. Just try it, man." 



The Font 17 

Ware poured himself a dram, and swallowed it with a gravity 
which would have done honor to a more solemn occasion, after 
bowing low to his principal and saying earnestly, "Colonel, 
your very good health." 

"And now," said Desmit, "have the hands and stock brought 
up while I eat my dinner, if you please. I have a smart bit of 
travel before me yet to-day." 

The overseer's horn was at Ware's lips in a moment, and 
before the master had finished his dinner every man, woman, and 
child on the plantation was in the yard, and every mule and horse 
was in the barn-lot ready to be brought out for his inspection. 

The great man sat on the back porch, and, calling up the 
slaves one by one, addressed some remark to each, gave every 
elder a quarter and every youngster a dime, until he came to the 
women. The first of these was Lorency, the strapping cook, who 
had improved the time since her master's coming to make herself 
gay with her newest gown and a flaming new turban. She came 
forward pertly, with a young babe upon her arm. 

"Well, Lorency, Mr. Ware says you have made me a present 
since I was here?" 

"Yah! yah! Marse Desmit, dat I hab! Jes' de finest little 
nigger boy yer ebber sot eyes on. Jes' you look at him now," she 
continued, holding up her bright-eyed pickaninny. "Ebber you 
see de beat ub dat? Reg'lar ten pound, an' wuff two hundred 
dollars dis bressed minnit." 

"Is that it, Lorency?" said Desmit, pointing to the child. "Who 
ever saw such a thunder-cloud?" 

There was a boisterous laugh at the master's joke from the 
assembled crowd. Nothing abashed, the good-natured mother 
replied, with ready wit, 

"Dat so, Marse Kunnel. He's brack, he is. None ob yer 
bleached out yaller sort of coffee-cullud nigger 'bout him. De 
rale ole giniwine kind, dat a coal make a white mark on. Yah! 
yah! what yer gwine ter name him, Mahs'r? Gib him a good 



i8 Bricks Without Straw 

name, now, none o' yer common mean ones, but jes' der bes' one 
yer got in yer book;" for Colonel Desmit was writing in a heavy 
clasped book which rested on a light stand beside him. 

"What is it, Mahs'r?" 

"Nimbus," replied the master. 

"Wh — what?" asked the mother. "Say dat agin, won't yer, 
Mahs'r?" 

"Nimbus — Nimbus," repeated Desmit. 

"Wal, I swan ter gracious!" exclaimed the mother, "Ef dat 
don't beat! H'yer! little — what's yer name? Jes' ax yer Mahs'r fer 
a silver dollar ter pay yer fer hevin' ter tote dat er name 'roun' ez 
long ez yer lives." 

She held the child toward its godfather and owner as she 
spoke, amid a roar of laughter from her fellow-servants. Desmit 
good-naturedly threw a dollar into the child's lap, for which 
Lorency courtesied, and then held out her hand. 

"What do you want now, gal?" asked Desmit. 

"Yer a'n't a gwine ter take sech a present ez dis from a pore 
cullud gal an' not so much ez giv' her someting ter remember 
hit by, is yer?" she asked with arch persistency. 

"There, there," said he laughing, as he gave her another dollar. 
"Go on, or I shan't have a cent left." 

"All right, Marse Kunnel. Thank ye, Mahs'r," she said, as she 
walked off in triumph. 

"Oh, hold on," said Desmit; "how old is it, Lorency?" 

"Jes' sebben weeks ole dis bressed day, Mahs'r," said the proud 
mother as she vanished into the kitchen to boast of her good-for- 
tune in getting two silver dollars out of Marse Desmit instead of 
the one customarily given by him on such occasions. 

And so the record was made up in the brass-clasped book of 
Colonel Potestatem Desmit, the only baptismal register of the 
colored man who twenty-six years afterward was wondering at 
the names which were seeking him against his will. 



The Junonian Rite 19 

No. 697 — Nimbus — of Lorency — Male — April 2^th, 1840 — 
Sound — Knapp-of -Reeds. 

It was a queer baptismal entry, but a slave needed no more — 
indeed did not need that. It was not given for his sake, but only 
for the convenience of his godfather should the chattel ever seek 
to run away, or should it become desirable to exchange him for 
some other form of value. There was nothing harsh or brutal or 
degraded about it. Mr. Desmit was doing, in a business way, what 
the law not only allowed but encouraged him to do, and doing it 
because it paid. 



The Junonian Rite 



"Marse Desmit?" 
"Well?" 

"Ef yer please, Mahs'r, I wants ter marry?" 
"The devil you do!" 
"Yes, sah, if you please, sah." 
"What's your name?" 
"Nimbus." 

"So: you're the curer at Knapp-of-Reeds, I believe?" 
"Yes, sah." 

"That last crop was well done. Mr. Ware says you're one of 
the best hands he has ever known." 

"Thank ye, Mahs'r," with a bow and scrape. 
"What's the gal's name?" 



20 Bricks Without Straw 

"Lugena, sah." 

"Yes, Vicey's gal — smart gal, too. Well, as I've about con- 
cluded to keep you both — if you behave yourselves, that is, as 
well as you've been doing — I don't know as there's any reason 
why you shouldn't take up with her." 

"Thank ye, Mahs'r," very humbly, but very joyfully. 

The speakers were the black baby whom Desmit had chris- 
tened Nimbus, grown straight and strong, and just turning his 
first score on the scale of life, and Colonel Desmit, grown a little 
older, a little grayer, a little fuller, and a great deal richer — if 
only the small cloud of war just rising on the horizon would 
blow over and leave his possessions intact. He believed it would, 
but he was a wise man and a cautious one, and he did not mean 
to be caught napping if it did not. 

Nimbus had come from Knapp-of-Reeds to a plantation 
twenty miles away, upon a pass from Mr. Ware, on the errand 
his conversation disclosed. He was a fine figure of a man despite 
his ebon hue, and the master, looking at him, very naturally 
noted his straight, strong back, square shoulders, full, round 
neck, and shapely, well-balanced head. His face was rather heavy 
— grave, it would have been called if he had been white — and his 
whole figure and appearance showed an earnest and thoughtful 
temperament. He was as far from that volatile type which, 
through the mimicry of burnt-cork minstrels and the exaggera- 
tions of caricaturists, as well as the works of less disinterested 
portrayers of the race, have come to represent the negro to the 
unfamiliar mind, as the typical Englishman is from the Punch- 
and-Judy figures which amuse him. The slave Nimbus in a white 
skin would have been considered a man of great physical power 
and endurance, earnest purpose, and quiet, self-reliant character. 
Such, in truth, he was. Except the whipping he had received 
when but a lad, by his master's orders, no blow had even been 
struck him. Indeed, blows were rarely stricken on the plantations 
of Colonel Desmit; for while he required work, obedience, and 



The Junonian Rite 21 

discipline, he also fed well and clothed warmly, and allowed no 
overseer to use the lash for his own gratification, or except for 
good cause. It was well known that nothing would more surely 
secure dismissal from his service than the free use of the whip. 
Not that he thought there was anything wrong or inhuman about 
the whipping-post, but it was entirely contrary to his policy. To 
keep a slave comfortable, healthy, and good-natured, according 
to Colonel Desmit's notion, was to increase his value, and thereby 
add to his owner's wealth. He knew that Nimbus was a very 
valuable slave. He had always been attentive to his tasks, was a 
prime favorite with his overseer, and had already acquired the 
reputation of being one of the most expert and trusty men that 
the whole region could furnish, for a tobacco crop. Every step in 
the process of growing and curing — from the preparation of the 
seed-bed to the burning of th coal-pit, and gauging the heat 
required in the mud-daubed barn for different kinds of leaf and 
in every stage of cure — was perfectly familiar to him, and he 
could always be trusted to see that it was properly and oppor- 
tunely done. This fact, together with his quiet and contented 
disposition, added very greatly to his value. The master regarded 
him, therefore, with great satisfaction. He was willing to gratify 
him in any reasonable way, and so, after some rough jokes at his 
expense, wrote out his marriage- license in these words, in pencil, 
on the blank leaf of a notebook: 

Mr. Ware : Nimbus and Lugena want to take up with each other. 
You have a pretty full force now, but I have decided to keep them 
and sell some of the old ones — say Vicey and Lorency. Neither have 
had any children for several years, and are yet strong, healthy 
women, who will bring nearly as much as the girl Lugena. I shall 
make up a gang to go South in charge of Winburn next week. You 
may send them over to Louisburg on Monday. You had better give 
Nimbus the empty house near the tobacco-barn. We need a trusty 
man there. 

Respectfully, 

P. Desmit. 



22 Bricks Without Straw 

So Nimbus went home happy, and on the Saturday night 
following, in accordance with this authority, with much mirth 
and clamor, and with the half-barbarous and half-Christian cere- 
mony — ^which the law did not recognize; which bound neither 
parties, nor master nor stranger; which gave Nimbus no rights 
and Lugena no privileges; which neither sanctified the union 
nor protected its offspring — ^the slave "boy" and "gal" "took up 
with each other," and began that farce which the victims of 
slavery were allowed to call "marriage." The sole purpose of 
permitting it was to raise children. The offspring were sometimes 
called "families," even in grave legal works; but there was no 
more of the family right of protection, duty of sustenance and 
care, or any other of the sacred elements which make the family 
a type of heaven, than attends the propagation of any other 
species of animate property. When its purpose had been served, 
the voice of the master effected instant divorce. So, on the 
Monday morning thereafter the mothers of the so-called bride 
and groom, widowed by the inexorable demands of the master's 
interests, left husband and children, and those fair fields which 
represented all that they knew of the paradise which we call 
home, and with tears and groans started for that living tomb, 
the ever-devouring and insatiable "far South." 



4 • Mars Meddles 

Louis burg, January lo, 1864 
Mr. Silas Ware: 

Dear Sir: In ten days I have to furnish twenty hands to work on 
fortifications for the Confederate Government. I have tried every 



I Mars Meddles 23 

plan I could devise to avoid doing so, but can put it off no longer. I 
anticipated this long ago, and exchanged all the men I could 
possibly spare for women, thinking that would relieve me, but it 
makes no difference. They apportion the levy upon the number of 
slaves. I shall have to furnish more pretty soon. The trouble is to 
know who to send. I am afraid every devil of them will run away, 
but have concluded that if I send Nimbus as a sort of headman of 

I the gang, he may be able to bring them through. He is a very 

: faithful fellow, with none of the fool-notions niggers sometimes get, 
I think. In fact, he is too dull to have such notions. At the same time 

\ he has a good deal of influence over the others. If you agree with 
this idea, send him to me at once. 

i Respectfully, 

P. Desmit, 

In accordance with this order Nimbus was sent on to have 
another interview with his master. The latter's wishes were ex- 
plained, and he was asked if he could fulfil them. 

"Dunne," he answered stolidly. 

"Are you willing to try?" 

"S'pect I hev ter, ennyhow, ef yer say so." 

"Now, Nimbus, haven't I always been a good master to you?" 
reproachfully. 

No answer. 

"Haven't I been kind to you always?" 

"Yer made Marse War gib me twenty licks once." 

"Well, weren't you saucy. Nimbus? Wouldn't you have done 
that to a nigger that called you a 'grand rascal' to your face?" 

"S'pecs I would, Mahs'r." 

"Of course you would. You know that very well. You've too 
much sense to remember that against me now. Besides, if you are 
not willing to do this I shall have to sell you South to keep you 
out of the hands of the Yanks." 

Mr. Desmit knew how to manage "niggers," and full well 
understood the terrors of being "sold South." He saw his advan- 
tage in the flush of apprehension which, before he had ceased 
speaking, made the jetty face before him absolutely ashen with 
terror. 



24 Bricks Without Straw 

"Don't do dat, Marse Desmit, ef you please! Don't do dat er 
wid Nimbus! Mind now, Mahs'r, I'se got a wife an' babies." 

"So you have, and I know you don't want to leave them." 

"No more I don't, Mahs'r," earnestly. 

"And you need not if you'll do as I want you to. See here, 
Nimbus, if you'll do this I will promise that you and your family 
never shall be separated, and I'll ^I'^t you fifty dollars now and a 
hundred dollars when you come back, if you'll just keep those 
other fool-niggers from trying — mind I say trying — to run away 
and so getting shot. There's no such thing as getting to the 
Yankees, and it would be a heap worse for them if they did, but 
you know they are such fools they might try it and get killed — 
which would serve them right, only I should have to bear the 
loss." 

"All right, Mahs'r, I do the best I can," said Nimbus. 

"That's right," said the master. 

"Here are fifty dollars," and he handed him a Confederate bill 
of that denomination (gold value at that time, $3.2 1 ) . 

Mr. Desmit did not feel entirely satisfied when Nimbus and his 
twenty fellow-servants went off upon the train to work for the 
Confederacy. However, he had done all he could except to warn 
the guards to be very careful, which he did not neglect to do. 

Just forty days afterward a ragged, splashed and torn young 
ebony Samson lifted the flap of a Federal officer's tent upon one 
of the coast islands, stole silently in, and when he saw the 
officer's eyes fixed upon him, asked, 

"Want ary boy, Mahs'r?" 

The tone, as well as the form of speech, showed a new-comer. 
The officer knew that none of the colored men who had been 
upon the island any length of time would have ventured into his 
presence unannounced, or have made such an inquiry. 

"Where did you come from?" he asked. 

"Ober to der mainlan'," was the composed answer. 

"How did you get here?" 

"Come in a boat." 



Mars Meddles 25 

"Run away?" 

"S'pose so." 

"Where did you live?" 

"Up de kentry — Horsford County." 

"How did you come down here?" 

"Ben wukkin' on de bres'wuks." 

"The dickens you have!" 

"Yes, sah." 

"How did you get a boat, then?" 

"Jes' tuk it — dry so." 

"Anybody with you?" 

"No, Mahs'r." 

"And you came across the Sound alone in an open boat?" 

"Yes, Mahs'r; an fru' de swamp widout any boat." 

"I should say so," laughed the officer, glancing at his clothes. 
"What did you come here for?" 

"Jes' — kase." 

"Didn't they tell you you'd be worse off with the Yankees than 
you were with them?" 

"Yes, sah." 

"Didn't you believe them?" 

"Dunno, sah." 

"What do you want to do?" 

"Anything." 

"Fight the rebs?" 

"Wal, I kin du it." 

"What's your name?" 

"Nimbus." 

"Nimbus? Good name — ha! ha! what else?" 

"Nuffin' else." 

"Nothing else? What was your old master's name?" 

"Desmit — Potem Desmit." 

"Well, then, that's yours, ain't it — your surname — ^Nimbus 
Desmit?*' 

"Reckon not, Mahs'r." 



26 Bricks Without Straw 

"No? Why not?" 

"Same reason his name ain't Nimbus, I s'pose." 

"Well," said the officer, laughing, "there may be something in 
that; but a soldier must have two names. Suppose I call you 
George Nimbus?" 

"Yer kin call me jes' what yer choose, sah; but my name's 
Nimbus all the same. No Gawge Nimbus, nor ennything Nim- 
bus, nor Nimbus ennything — jes' Nimbus; so. Nigger got no use 
fer two names, nohow." 

The officer, perceiving that it was useless to argue the matter 
further, added his name to the muster-roll of a regiment, and he 
was duly sworn into the service of the United States as George 
Nimbus, of Company C, of the — Massachusetts Volunteer In- 
fantry, and was counted one of the quota which the town of 
Great Barringham, in the valley of the Housatuck, was required 
to furnish to complete the pending call for troops to put down 
rebellion. By virtue of this fact, the said George Nimbus became 
entitled to the sum of four hundred dollars bounty money offered 
by said town to such as should give themselves to complete its 
quota of "the boys in blue," in addition to his pay and bounty 
from the Government. So, if it forced on him a new name, the 
service of freedom was not altogether without compensatory 
advantages. 

Thus the slave Nimbus was transformed into the "contraband" 
George Nimbus, and became not only a soldier of fortune, but 
also the representative of a patriotic citizen of Great Barringham, 
who served his country by proxy, in the person of said contra- 
band, faithfully and well until the end of the war, when the 
South fell — stricken at last most fatally by the dark hands which 
she had manacled, and overcome by their aid whose manhood 
she had refused to acknowledge. 



5 * Nunc Pro Tunc 



The first step in the progress from the prison-house of bond- 
age to the citadel of hberty was a strange one. The war was 
over. The struggle for autonomy and the inviolability of slavery, 
on the part of the South, was ended, and fate had decided against 
them. With this arbitrament of war fell also the institution 
which had been its cause. Slavery was abolished — by proclama- 
tion, by national enactment, by constitutional amendment — ay, 
by the sterner logic which forbade a nation to place shackles 
again upon hands which had been raised in her defence, which 
had fought for her life and at her request. So the slave was a 
slave no more. No other man could claim his service or restrain 
his volition. He might go or come, work or play, so far as his late 
master was concerned. 

But that was all. He could not contract, testify, marry or give 
in marriage. He had neither property, knowledge, right, or 
power. The whole four millions did not possess that number of 
dollars or of dollars' worth. Whatever they had acquired in 
slavery was the master's, unless he had expressly made himself a 
trustee for their benefit. Regarded from the legal standpoint it 
was, indeed, a strange position in which they were. A race 
despised, degraded, penniless, ignorant, houseless, homeless, fa- 
therless, childless, nameless. Husband or wife there was not one in 
four millions. Not a child might call upon a father for aid, and 
no man of them all might lift his hand in a daughter's defence. 
Uncle and aunt and cousin, home, family — none of these words 
had any place in the freedman's vocabulary. Right he had, in the 
abstract; in the concrete, none. Justice would not hear his voice. 
The law was still color-blinded by the past. 

The fruit of slavery — its first ripe harvest, gathered with 
swords and bloody bayonets, was before the nation which looked 

27 



28 Bricks Without Straw 

ignorantly on the fruits of the deliverance it had wrought. The 
North did not comprehend its work; the South could not com- 
prehend its fate. The unbound slave looked to the future in dull, 
wondering hope. 

The first step in advance was taken neither by the nation nor 
by the freedmen. It was prompted by the voice of conscience, 
long hushed and hidden in the master's breast. It was the protest 
of Christianity and morality against that which it had witnessed 
with complacency for many a generation. All at once it was 
perceived to be a great enormity that four millions of Christian 
people, in a Christian land, should dwell together without mar- 
riage rite or family tie. While they were slaves, the fact that they 
might be bought and sold had hidden this evil from the eye of 
morality, which had looked unabashed upon the unlicensed free- 
dom of the quarters and the enormities of the barracoon. Now 
all at once it was shocked beyond expression at the domestic 
relations of the freedmen. 

So they made haste in the first legislative assemblies that met 
in the various States, after the turmoil of war had ceased, to 
provide and enact: 

1. That all those who had sustained to each other the relation of 
husband and wife in the days of slavery, might, upon application to 
an officer named in each county, be registered as such husband and 
wife. 

2. That all who did not so register within a certain time should 
be liable to indictment, if the relation continued thereafter. 

3. That the effect of such registration should be to constitute such 
parties husband and wife, as of the date of their first assumption of 
marital relations. 

4. That for every such couple registered the officer should be 
entitled to receive the sum of one half-dollar from the parties 
registered. 

There was a grim humor about this marriage of a race by 
wholesale, millions at a time, and nunc pro tunc; but especially 
quaint was the idea of requiring each freedman, who had just 



Nunc Pro Tunc 29 

been torn, as it were naked, from the master's arms, to pay a snug 
fee for the simple privilege of entering upon that relation which 
the law had rigorously withheld from him until that moment. It 
was a strange remedy for a long-hidden and stubbornly denied 
disease, and many strange scenes were enacted in accordance with 
the provisions of this statute. Many an aged couple, whose 
children had been lost in the obscure abysses of slavery, or had 
gone before them into the spirit land, old and feeble and gray- 
haired, wrought with patience day after day to earn at once their 
living and the money for this fee, and when they had procured it 
walked a score of miles in order that they might be "registered," 
and, for the brief period that remained to them of life, know that 
the law had sanctioned the relation which years of love and 
suffering had sanctified. It was the first act of freedom, the first 
step of legal recognition or manly responsibility! It was a proud 
hour and a proud fact for the race which had so long been bowed 
in thralldom and forbidden even the most common though the 
holiest of God's ordinances. What the law had taken little by 
little, as the science of Christian slavery grew up under the 
brutality of our legal progress, the law returned in bulk. It was 
the first seal which was put on the slave's manhood — the first 
step upward from the brutishness of another's possession to the 
glory of independence. The race felt its importance as did no one 
else at that time. By hundreds and thousands they crowded the 
places appointed, to accept the honor offered to their posterity, 
and thereby unwittingly conferred undying honor upon them- 
selves. Few indeed were the unworthy ones who evaded the 
sacred responsibility thus laid upon them, and left their offspring 
to remain under the badge of shame. When carefully looked at it 
was but a scant cure, and threw the responsibility of illegitimacy 
where it did not belong, but it was a mighty step nevertheless. 
The distance from zero to unity is always infinity. 

The county clerk in and for the county of Horsford sat behind 
the low wooden railing which he had been compelled to put 



30 Bricks Without Straw 

across his office to protect him from the too near approach of 
those who crowded to this fountain of rehabihtating honor that 
had recently been opened therein. Unused to anything beyond 
the plantation on which they had been reared, the temple of 
justice was as strange to their feet, and the ways and forms of 
ordinary business as marvelous to their minds as the etiquette of 
the king's palace to a peasant who has only looked from afar 
upon its pinnacled roof. The recent statute had imposed upon the 
clerk a labor of no little difficulty because of this very ignorance 
on the part of those whom he was required to serve; but he was 
well rewarded. The clerk was a man of portly presence, given to 
his ease, who smoked a long-stemmed pipe as he sat beside a 
table which, in addition to his papers and writing materials, held 
a bucket of water on which floated a clean gourd, in easy reach of 
his hand. 

"Be you the clerk, sah?" said a straight young colored man, 
whose clothing had a hint of the soldier in it, as well as his 
respectful but unusually collected bearing. 

"Yes," said the clerk, just glancing up, but not intermitting his 
work; "what do you want?" 

"If you please, sah, we wants to be married, Lugena and me." 

"Registered, you mean, I suppose?" 

"No, we don't, sah; we means married." 

"I can't marry you. You'll have to get a license and be married 
by a magistrate or a minister." 

"But I heard der was a law — " 

"Have you been living together as man and wife?" 

"Oh, yes, sah; dat we hab, dis smart while." 

"Then you want to be registered. This is the place. Got a 
half-dollar?" 

"Yes, sah?" 

"Let's have it." 

The colored man took out some bills, and with much difficulty 



Nunc Pro Tunc 31 

endeavored to make a selection; finally, handing one doubtfully 
toward the clerk, he asked, 

"Is dat a one-dollah, sah?" 

"No, that is a five, but I can change it." 

"No, I'se got it h'yer," said the other hastily, as he dove again 
into his pockets, brought out some pieces of fractional currency 
and handed them one by one to the officer until he said he had 
enough. 

"Well," said the clerk as he took up his pen and prepared to 
fill out the blank, "what is your name?" 

"My name's Nimbus, sah." 

"Nimbus what?" 

"Nimbus nuffin', sah; jes' Nimbus." 

"But you must have another name?" 

"No I hain't. Jes' wore dat fer twenty-odd years, an' nebber 
hed no udder." 

"Who do you work for?" 

"Wuk for myself, sah." 

"Well, on whose land do you work?" 

"Wuks on my own, sah. Oh, I libs at home an' boa'ds at de 
same place, I does. An' my name's Nimbus, jes' straight along, 
widout any tail ner handle." 

"What was your old master's name?" 

"Desmit — Colonel Potem Desmit." 

"I might have known that," said the clerk laughingly, "from 
the durned outlandish name. Well, Desmit is your surname, 
then, ain't it?" 

"No 'taint, Mister. What right I got ter his name? He nebber 
gib it ter me no more'n he did ter you er Lugena h'yer." 

"Pshaw, I can't stop to argue with you. Here's your certificate." 

"Will you please read it, sah? I hain't got no larnin'. Ef you 
please, sah." 

The clerk, knowing it to be the quickest way to get rid of 



32 Bricks Without Straw 

them, read rapidly over the certificate that Nimbus and Lugena 
Desmit had been duly registered as husband and wife, under the 

provisions of an ordinance of the Convention ratified on the 

day of , 1865. 

"So you's done put in dat name — Desmit?" 

"Oh, I just had to. Nimbus. The fact is, a man can't be married 
according to law without two names." 

"So hit appears; but ain't it quare dat I should hev ole Mahs'r's 
name widout his gibbin' it ter me, ner my axin' fer it. Mister?" 

"It may be, but that's the way, you see." 

"So hit seems. 'Pears like I'm boun' ter hev mo' names 'n I 
knows what ter do wid, jes' kase I's free. But de chillen — yer 
hain't sed nary word about dem. Mister." 

"Oh, I've nothing to do with them." 

"But, see h'yer. Mister, ain't de law a doin' dis ter make dem 
lawful chillen?" 

"Certainly." 

"An' how's de law ter know which is de lawful chillen ef hit 
ain't on dat ar paper?" 

"Sure enough," said the clerk, with amusement. "That would 
have been a good idea, but, you see, Nimbus, the law didn't go 
that far." 

"Wal, hit ought ter hev gone dat fur. Now, Mister Clerk, 
couldn't you jes' put dat on dis yer paper, jes' ter 'commodate me, 
yer know." 

"Perhaps so," good-naturedly, taking back the certificate; 
"what do you want me to write?" 

"Wal, yer see, dese yer is our chillen. Dis yer boy Lone — Axy- 
lone, Marse Desmit called him, but we calls him Lone for short 
— he's gwine on fo'; dis yer gal Wicey, she's two past; and dis 
little brack cuss Lugena's a-holdin' on, we call Cap'n, kase he 
bosses all on us — he's nigh 'bout a year; an' dat's all." 

The clerk entered the names and ages of the children on the 
back of the paper, with a short certificate that they were present, 



The Toga Virilis 33 

and were acknowledged as the children, and the only ones, of the 
parties named in the instrument. 

And so the slave Nimbus was transformed, first into the 
"contraband" and mercenary soldier George Nimbus, and then 
by marriage into Nimbus Desmit. 



6 • The Toga Virilis 



But the transformations of the slave were not yet ended. The 
time came when he was permitted to become a citizen. For two 
years he had led an inchoate, nondescript sort of existence: free 
without power or right; neither slave nor freeman; neither prop- 
erty nor citizen. He had been, meanwhile, a bone of contention 
between the Provisional Governments of the States and the 
military power which controlled them. The so-called State Gov- 
ernments dragged him toward the whipping-post and the Black 
Codes and serfdom. They denied him his oath, fastened him to 
the land, compelled him to hire by the year, required the respect- 
fulness of the old slave "Mahs'r" and "Missus," made his em- 
ployer liable for his taxes, and allowed recoupment therefor; 
limited his avocations and restricted his opportunities. These 
would substitute serfdom for chattelism. 

On the other hand the Freedman's Bureau acted as his guard- 
ian and friend, looked after his interests in contracts, prohibited 
the law's barbarity, and insisted stubbornly that the freedman 
was a man, and must be treated as such. It needed only the robe 
of citizenship, it was thought, to enable him safely to dispense 



34 Bricks Without Straw 

with the one of these agencies and defy the other. So the negro 
was transformed into a citi2en, a voter, a poHtical factor, by act 
of Congress, with the aid and assistance of the mihtary power. 

A great crowd had gathered at the little town of Melton, 
which was one of the chief places of the county of Horsford, for 
the people had been duly notified by official advertisement that 
on this day the board of registration appointed by the com- 
mander of the military district in which Horsford County was 
situated would convene there, to take and record the names, and 
pass upon the qualifications, of all who desired to become voters 
of the new body politic which was to be erected therein, or of the 
old one which was to be reconstructed and rehabilitated out of 
the ruins which war had left. 

The first provision of the law was that every member of such 
board of registration should be able to take what was known in 
those days as the "iron-clad oath," that is, an oath that he had 
never engaged in, aided, or abetted any rebellion against the 
Government of the United States. Men who could do this were 
exceedingly difficult to find in some sections. Of course there 
were abundance of colored men who could take this oath, but 
not one in a thousand of them could read or write. The military 
commander determined, however, to select in every registration 
district one of the most intelligent of this class, in order that he 
might look after the interests of his race, now for the first time to 
take part in any public or political movement. This would 
greatly increase the labors of the other members of the board, yet 
was thought not only just but necessary. As the labor of record- 
ing the voters of a county was no light one, especially as the lists 
had to be made out in triplicate, it was necessary to have some 
clerical ability on the board. These facts often made the composi- 
tion of these boards somewhat heterogeneous and peculiar. The 
one which was to register the voters of Horsford consisted of a 
little old white man, who had not enough of stamina or charac- 
ter to have done or said anything in aid of rebellion, and who, if 



The Toga Virilis 35 

he had done the very best he knew, ought yet to have been held 
guiltless of evil accomplished. In his younger days he had been 
an overseer, but in his later years had risen to the dignity of a 
landowner and the possession of one or two slaves. He wrestled 
with the mysteries of the printed page with a sad seriousness 
which made one regret his inability to remember what was at the 
top until he had arrived at the bottom. Writing was a still more 
solemn business with him, but he was a brave man and would 
cheerfully undertake to transcribe a list of names, which he well 
knew that anything less than eternity would be too short to allow 
him to complete. He was a small, thin-haired, squeaky-voiced 
bachelor of fifty, and as full of good intentions as the road to 
perdition. If Tommy Glass ever did any evil it would not only be 
without intent but from sheer accident. 

With Tommy was associated an old colored man, one of those 
I known in that region as "old-issue free-niggers." Old Pharaoh 
' Ray was a venerable man. He had learned to read before the 
Constitution of 1835 deprived the free-negro of his vote, and had 
read a little since. He wore an amazing pair of brass-mounted 
spectacles. His head was surmounted by a mass of snowy hair, 
and he was of erect and powerful figure despite the fact that he 
I boasted a life of more than eighty years. He read about as fast 
and committed to memory more easily than his white associate, 
Glass. In writing they were about a match; Pharaoh wrote his 
■ name much more legibly than Glass could, but Glass accom- 
plished the task in about three fourths of the time required by 
t Pharaoh. 

' The third member of the board was Captain Theron Pardee, a 
t young man who had served in the Federal army and afterward 
; settled in an adjoining county. He was the chairman. He did the 
writing, questioning, and deciding, and as each voter had to be 
sworn he utilized his two associates by requiring them to admin- 
ister the oaths and — look wise. The colored man in about two 
" weeks learned these oaths so that he could repeat them. The 



36 Bricks Without Straw 

white man did not commit the brief formulas in the four weeks 
they were on duty. 

The good people of Melton were greatly outraged that this 
composite board should presimie to come and pass upon the 
qualifications of its people as voters under the act of Congress, 
and indeed it was a most ludicrous affair. The more they contem- 
plated the outrage that was being done to them, by decreeing 
that none should vote who had once taken an oath to support the 
Government of the United States and afterward aided the rebel- 
lion, the angrier they grew, until finally they declared that the 
registration should not be held. Then there were some sharp 
words between the ex-Federal soldier and the objectors. As no 
house could be procured for the purpose, he proposed to hold the 
registration on the porch of the hotel where he stopped, but the 
landlord objected. Then he proposed to hold k on the sidewalk 
under a big tree, but the town authorities declared against it. 
However, he was proceeding there, when an influential citizen 
kindly came forward and offered the use of certain property 
under his control. There was some clamor, but the gentleman did 
not flinch. Thither they adjourned, and the work went busily on. 
Among others who came to be enrolled as citizens was our old 
friend Nimbus. 

"Where do you live?" asked the late Northern soldier sharply, 
as Nimbus came up in his turn in the long line of those waiting 
for the same purpose. 

"Down ter Red Wing, sah?" 

"Where's that?" 

"Oh, right down h'yer on Hyco, sah." 

"In this county?" 

"Oh, bless yer, yes, Mister, should tink hit was. Hit's not above 
five or six miles out from h'yer." 

"How old are you?" 

"Wal, now, I don't know dat, not edzactly." 

"How old do you think — twenty-one?" 



The Toga Virilis 37 

"Oh, la, yes; more nor dat, Cap'." 
"Born where?" 

"Right h'yer in Horsford, sah." 
"What is your name?" 
"Nimbus." 

"Nimbus what?" asked the officer, looking up. 
"Nimbus nothin', sah; jes' straight along Nimbus." 
"Well, but — " said the officer, looking puzzled, "you must 
have some sort of surname." 

"No, sah, jes' one; nigger no use for two names." 
"Yah! yah! yah!" echoed the dusky crowd behind him. "You's 
jes' right dah, you is! Niggah mighty little use fer heap o' names. 
Jes' like a mule — one name does him, an' mighty well off ef he's 
'lowed ter keep dat." 

"His name's Desmit," said a white man, the sheriff of the 

I county, who stood leaning over the railing; "used to belong to 

old Potem Desmit, over to Louisburg. Mighty good nigger, too. I 

s'pec' ole man Desmit felt about as bad at losing him as ary one 

!! he had." 

"Powerful good hand in terbacker," said Mr. Glass, who was 
} himself an expert in "yaller leaf." "Ther' wasn't no better enny- 

whar' round." 
: "I knows all about him," said another. "Seed a man offer old 
jl Desmit eighteen hundred dollars for him afore the war — State 
i money — but he wouldn't tech it. Reckon he wishes he had now." 
"Yes," said the sheriff, "he's the best curer in the county. 
' Commands almost any price in the season, but is powerful 
i independent, and gittin' right sassy. Listen at him now?" 

"They say your name is Desmit — Nimbus Desmit," said the 
:i officer; "is that so?" 
"No, tain't." 

"Wasn't that your old master's name?" asked the sheriff 
roughly. 

"Co'se it war," was the reply. 



38 Bricks Without Straw 

"Well, then, ain't it yours too?" 

"No, it ain't," 

"Well, you just ask the gentleman if that ain't so," said the 
sheriff, motioning to the chairman of the board. 

"Well," said that officer, with a peculiar smile, "I do not know 
that there is any law compelling a freedman to adopt his former 
master's name. He is without name in the law, a pure nullius 
filius — nobody's son. As a slave he had but one name. He could 
have no surname, because he had no family. He was arraigned, 
tried, and executed as 'Jitn' ^^ Bill' or 'Tom.' The volumes of the 
reports are full of such cases, as The State vs. 'Dick' or 'Sam.' The 
Roman custom was for the freedman to take the name of some 
friend, benefactor, or patron. I do not see why the American 
freedman has not a right to choose his own surname." 

"That is not the custom here," said the sheriff, with some 
chagrin, he having begun the controversy. 

"Very true," replied the chairman; "the custom — and a very 
proper and almost necessary one it seems — is to call the freedman 
by a former master's name. This distinguishes individuals. But 
when the freedman refuses to acknowledge the master's name as 
his, who can impose it on him? We are directed to register the 
names of parties, and while we might have the right to refuse 
one whom we found attempting to register under a false name, 
yet we have no power to make names for those applying. Indeed, 
if this man insists that he has but one name, we must, for what I 
can see, register him by that alone." 

His associates looked wise, and nodded acquiescence in the 
views thus expressed. 

"Den dat's what I chuse," said the would-be voter. "My name's 
Nimbus — noffin' mo'." 

"But I should advise you to take another name to save trouble 
when you come to vote," said the chairman. His associates nod- 
ded solemnly again. 



The Toga Virilis 39 

"Wal, now, Marse Cap'n, you jes' see h'yer. I don't want ter 
carry nobody's name widout his leave. S'pose I take ole Marse 
"War's name ober dar?" 

"You can take any one you choose. I shall write down the one 
you give me." 

"Is you willin', Marse War'?" 

"I've nothing to do with it, Nimbus," said Ware; "fix your 
own name." 

"Wal sah," said Nimbus, "I reckon I'll take dat ef I must hev 
enny mo' name. Yer see he wuz my ole oberseer, Mahs'r, an' wuz 
powerful good ter me, tu. I'd a heap ruther hev his name than 
Marse Desmit's; but I don't wani no name but Nimbus, nohow. 

"All right," said the chairman, as he made the entry. "Ware it 
is then." 

As there might be a poll held at Red Wing, where Nimbus 
lived, he was given a certificate showing that Nimbus Ware had 
been duly registered as an elector of the county of Horsford and 
for the precinct of Red Wing. 

Then the newly-named Nimbus was solemnly sworn by the pa- 
triarchal Pharaoh to bear true faith and allegiance to the govern- 
ment of the United States, and to uphold its constitution and the 
laws passed in conformity therewith; and thereby the recent 
slave became a component factor of the national life, a full- 
fledged citizen of the American Republic. 

As he passed out, the sheriff said to those about him, in a low 
tone, 

"There'll be trouble with that nigger yet. He's too sassy. You'll 
: see." 

"How so?" asked the chairman. "I thought you said he was 
industrious, thrifty, and honest." 

"Oh, yes," was the reply, "there ain't a nigger in the county 
I got a better character for honesty and hard work than he, but 
j he's too important — has got the big head, as we call it." 



40 Bricks Without Straw 

"I don't understand what you mean," said the chairman. 

"Why he ain't respectful," said the other. "Talks as independ- 
ent as if he was a white man." 

"Well, he has as much right to talk independently as a white 
man. He is just as free," said the chairman sharply. 

"Yes; but he ain't white," said the sheriff doggedly, "and our 
people won't stand a nigger's puttin' on such airs. Why, Cap- 
tain," he continued in a tone which showed that he felt that the 
fact he was about to announce must carry conviction even to the 
incredulous heart of the Yankee officer. "You just ought to see 
his place down at Red Wing. Damned if he ain't better fixed up 
than lots of white men in the county. He's got a good house, and 
a terbacker-barn, and a church, and a nigger school-house, and 
stock, and one of the finest crops of terbacker in the county. Oh, 
I tell you, he's cutting a wide swath, he is." 

"You don't tell me," said the chairman with interest. "I am 
glad to hear it. There appears to be good stuff in the fellow. He 
seems to have his own ideas about things, too." 

"Yes, that's the trouble," responded the sheriff. "Our people 
ain't used to that and won't stand it. He's putting on altogether 
too much style for a nigger." 

"Pshaw," said the chairman, "if there were more like him it 
would be better for everybody. A man like him is worth some- 
thing for an example. If all the race were of his stamp there 
would be more hope." 

"The devil!" returned the sheriff, with a sneering laugh, "if 
they were all like him, a white man couldn't live in the country. 
They'd be so damned sassy and important that we'd have to kill 
the last one of 'em to have any peace." 

"Fie, sheriff," laughed the chairman good-naturedly; "you 
seem to be vexed at the poor fellow for his thrift, and because he 
is doing well." 

"I am a white man, sir; and I don't like to see niggers gittin' 



The Toga Virilis 41 

above us. Them's my sentiments," was the reply. "And that's the 
way our people feel." 

There was a half-suppressed murmur of applause among the 
group of white men at this. The chairman responded, 

"No doubt, and yet I believe you are wrong. Now, I can't help 
liking the fellow for his sturdy manhood. He may be a trifle too 
positive, but it is a good fault. I think he has the elements of a 
good citizen, and I can't understand why you feel so toward 
him." 

There were some appreciative and good-natured cries of "Dar 
now," "Listen at him," "Now you're talkin'," from the colored 
men at this reply. 

"Oh, that's because you're a Yankee," said the sheriff, with 
commiserating scorn. "You don't think, now, that it's any harm 
to talk that way before niggers and set them against the white 
people either, I suppose?" 

The chairman burst into a hearty laugh, as he replied, 

"No, indeed, I don't. If you call that setting the blacks against 
the whites, the sooner they are by the ears the better. If you are 
so thin-skinned that you can't allow a colored man to think, talk, 
act, and prosper like a man, the sooner you get over your 
squeamishness the better. For me, I am interested in this Nimbus. 
We have to go to Red Wing and report on it as a place for 
holding a poll and I am bound to see more of him." 

"Oh, you'll see enough of him if you go there, never fear," was 
the reply. 

There was a laugh from the white men about the sheriff, a sort 
of cheer from the colored men in waiting, and the business of 
the board went on without further reference to the new-made 
citizen. 

The slave who had been transformed into a "contraband" and 
mustered as a soldier under one name, married under another, 
and now enfranchised under a third, returned to his home to 



42 Bricks Without Straw 

meditate upon his transformations — as we found him doing in 
our first chapter. 

The reason for these metamorphoses, and their consequences, 
might well puzzle a wiser head than that of the many-named but 
unlettered Nimbus. 



7 • Damon and Pythias 



After his soliloquy in regard to his numerous names, as given 
in our first chapter. Nimbus turned away from the gate near 
which he had been standing, crossed the yard in front of his 
house, and entered a small cabin which stood near it. 

"Dar! 'Liab," he said, as he entered and handed the paper 
which he had been examining to the person addressed, "I reckon 
I'se free now. I feel ez ef I wuz 'bout half free, ennyhow. I wuz a 
sojer, an' fought fer freedom. I've got my house an' bit o' Ian', 
wife, chillen, crap, an' stock, an' it's all mine. An' now I'se done 
been registered, an' when de 'lection comes off, kin vote jes' ez 
hard an' ez well an' ez often ez ole Marse Desmit. I hain't felt 
free afore — leastways I hain't felt right certain on't; but now I 
reckon I'se all right, fact an' truth. What you tinks on't, 'Liab?" 

The person addressed was sitting on a low seat under the one 
window which was cut into the west side of the snugly-built log 
cabin. The heavy wooden shutter swung back over the bench. On 
the other side of the room was a low cot, and a single splint-bot- 
tomed chair stood against the open door. The house contained no 
other furniture. 



Damon and Pythias 43 

The bench which he occupied was a queer compound of table, 
desk, and work-bench. It had the leathern seat of a shoemaker's 
bench, except that it was larger and wider. As the occupant sat 
with his back to the window, on his left were the shallow boxes 
of a shoemaker's bench, and along its edge the awls and other 
tools of that craft were stuck in leather loops secured by tacks, as 
is the custom of the Crispin the world over. On the right was a 
table whose edge was several inches above the seat, and on which 
were some books, writing materials, a slate, a bundle of letters 
tied together with a piece of shoe-thread, and some newspapers 
and pamphlets scattered about in a manner which showed at a 
glance that the owner was unaccustomed to their care, but which 
is yet quite indescribable. On the wall above this table, but 
within easy reach of the sitter's hand, hung a couple of narrow 
hanging shelves, on which a few books were neatly arranged. 
One lay open on the table, with a shoemaker's last placed across 
it to prevent its closing. 

Eliab was already busily engaged in reading the certificate 
which Nimbus had given him. The sun, now near its setting, 
shone in at the open door and fell upon him as he read. He was a 
man apparently about the age of Nimbus — younger rather than 
older — having a fine countenance, almost white, but with just 
enough of brown in its sallow paleness to suggest the idea of 
colored blood, in a region where all degrees of admixture were 
by no means rare. A splendid head of black hair waved above his 
broad, full forehead, and an intensely black silky beard and 
mustache framed the lower portion of his face most fittingly. His 
eyes were soft and womanly, though there was a patient boldness 
about their great brown pupils and a directness of gaze which 
suited well the bearded face beneath. The lines of suflFering were 
deeply cut upon the thoughtful brow and around the liquid eyes, 
and showed in the mobile workings of the broad mouth, half 
shaded by the dark mustache. The face was not a handsome one, 
but ther2 was a serious and earnest calmness about it which gave 



44 Bricks Without Straw 

it an unmistakable nobility of expression and prompted one to 
look more closely at the man and his surroundings. 

The shoulders were broad and square, the chest was full, the 
figure erect, and the head finely poised. He was dressed with 
unusual neatness for one of his race and surroundings, at the 
time of which we write. One comprehended at a glance that this 
worker and learner was also deformed. There was that in his 
surroundings which showed that he was not as other men. The 
individuality of weakness and suffering had left its indelible 
stamp upon the habitation which he occupied. Yet so erect and 
self-helping in appearance was the figure on the cobbler's bench 
that one for a moment failed to note in what the affliction 
consisted. Upon closer observation he saw that the lower limbs 
were sharply flexed and drawn to the leftward, so that the right 
foot rested on its side under the left thigh. This inclined the body 
somewhat to the right, so that the right arm rested naturally 
upon the table for support when not employed. These limbs, 
especially below the knees, were shrunken and distorted. The 
shoe of the right foot whose upturned sole rested on the left leg 
just above the ankle, was many sizes too small for a development 
harmonious with the trunk. 

Nimbus sat down in the splint-bottomed chair by the door and 
fanned himself with his dingy hat while the other read. 

"How is dis, Nimbus? What does dis mean? Nimbus Ware? 
Where did you get dat name?" he asked at length, raising his 
eyes and looking in pained surprise toward the new voter. 

"Now, Bre'er 'Liab, don't talk dat 'ere way ter Nimbus, ef yo 
please. Don't do it now. Yer knows I can't help it. Ebberybody 
want ter call me by ole Mahs'r's name, an' dat I can't abide 
nohow; an' when I kicks 'bout it, dey jes gib me some odder one. 
Dey all seems ter tink I'se boun' ter hev two names, though I 
hain't got no manner o' right ter but one." 

"But how did you come to have dis one — Ware?" persisted 
Eliab. 

"Wal, you see, Bre'er 'Liab, de boss man at der registerin' he 



Damon and Pythias 45 

ax me fer my las' name, an' I tell him I hadn't got none, jes so. 
Den Sheriff Gleason, he put in his oar, jes ez he alius does, an' he 
say my name wuz Desmit, atter ole Mahs'r. Dat made me mad, 
an' I 'spute him, an' sez I, 'I won't hev no sech name.' Den de 
boss man, he shet up Marse Gleason purty smart like, and he sed 
I'd a right ter enny name I chose ter carry, kase nobody hadn't 
enny sort o' right ter fasten enny name at all on ter me 'cept 
myself. But he sed I'd better hev two, kase most other folks hed 
'em. So I axed Marse Si War' ef he'd lend me his name jes fer de 
'casion, yer know, an' he sed he hadn't no 'jection ter it. So I tole 
der boss man ter put it down, an' I reckon dar 'tis." 

"Yes, here it is, sure 'nough. Nimbus; but didn't you promise 
me you wouldn't have so many names?" 

"Co'se I did; an' I did try, but they all 'llowed I got ter have 
two names whe'er er no." 

"Then why didn't you take your old mahs'r's name, like de 
rest, and not have all dis trouble?" 

"Now, 'Liab, yer knows thet I won't nebber do dat." 

"But why not. Nimbus?" 

"Kase I ain't a-gwine ter brand my chillen wid no sech 
slave-mark! Nebber! You hear dat, 'Liab? I hain't got no ill-will 
gin Marse Desmit, not a mite — only 'bout dat ar lickin, an' dat 
ain't nuffin now; but I ain't gwine ter war his name ner giv it ter 
my chillen ter mind 'em dat der daddy wuz jes anudder man's 
critter one time. I tell you I can't do hit, nohow; an' I won't, 
Bre'er 'Liab. I don't hate Marse Desmit, but I does hate slavery — 
dat what made me his — worse'n a pilot hates a rattlesnake; an' I 
hate every ting dat 'minds me on't, I do!" 

The black Samson had risen in his excitement and now sat 
down upon the bench by the other. 

"I don't blame you for dat. Nimbus, but — " 

"I don't want to heah no 'buts' 'bout it, an' I won't." 

"But the chillen. Nimbus. You don't want dem to be different 
from others and have no surname?" 

"Dat's a fac', 'Liab," said Nimbus, springing to his feet. "I 



46 Bricks Without Straw 

nebber t'ought o' dat. Dey must hev a name, an' I mus' hev one 
ter gib 'em, but how's I gwine ter git one? Dar's nobody's got 
enny right ter gib me one, an' ef I choose one dis week what's 
ter hender my takin' ob anudder nex week?" 

"Perhaps nothing," answered 'Liab, "but yourself. You must 
not do it." 

"Pshaw, now," said Nimbus, "what sort o' way is dat ter hev 
things? I tell ye what orter been done, 'Liab; when de law 
married us all, jes out of han' like, it orter hev named us too. Hit 
mout hev been done, jes ez well's not. Dar's old Mahs'r now, he'd 
hev named all de niggas in de county in a week, easy. An' dey'd 
been good names, too." 

"But you'd have bucked at it ef he had," said 'Liab, good-na- 
turedly. 

"No I wouldn't, 'Liab. I hain't got nuffin 'gin ole Mahs'r. He 
war good enough ter me — good 'nuff. I only hate what made him 
'Old Mahs'r,' an' dat I does hate. Oh, my God, how I does hate it, 
'Liab! I hates de berry groun' dat a slave's wukked on! I do, I 
swar! When I wuz a-comin' home to-day an' seed de gullies 'long 
der way, hit jes made me cuss, kase dey wuz dar a-testifyin' ob de 
ole time when a man war a critter — a dog — a nuffin!" 

"Now you oughtn't to say dat. Nimbus. Just think of me. 
Warn't you better off as a slave than I am free?" 

"No, I warn't. I'd ruther be a hundred times wuss off ner you, 
an' free, than ez strong as I am an' a slave." 

"But think how much more freedom is worth to you. Here you 
are a voter, and I — " 

"Bre'er 'Liab," exclaimed Nimbus, starting suddenly up, "what 
for you no speak 'bout dat afore. Swar to God I nebber tink on't 
— not a word, till dis bressed minit. Why didn't yer say nuflSn' 
'bout bein' registered yo'self, eh? Yer knov/ed I'd a tuk yer ef I 
hed ter tote ye on my back, which I wouldn't. I wouldn't gone a 
step widout yer ef I'd only a t'ought. Yer knows I wouldn't." 

"Course I does. Nimbus, but I didn't want ter make ye no 



Damon and Pythias 47 

trouble, nor take the mule out of the crap," answered 'Liab 
apologetically. 

"Damn de crap!" said Nimbus impetuously. 

"Don't; don't swear. Nimbus, if you please." 

"Can't help it, 'Liab, when you turn fool an' treat me dat 'ere 
way. I'd swar at ye ef yer wuz in de pulpit an' dat come ober me, 
jes at de fust. Yer knows Nimbus better ner dat. Now see heah, 
'Liab Hill, yer's gwine ter go an' be registered termorrer, jes ez 
sure ez termorrer comes. Here we thick-headed dunces hez been 
up dar to-day a-takin' de oath an' makin' bleve we's full grown 
men, an' here's you, dat knows more nor a ten-acre lot full on us, 
a lyin' here an' habin' no chance at all." 

"But you want to ^&t de barn full, and can't afford to spend 
any more time," protested 'Liab. 

"Nebber you min' 'bout de barn. Dat's Nimbus' business, an' 
he'll take keer on't. Let him alone fer dat. Yis, honey, I'se comin' 
d'reckly!" he shouted, as his wife called him from his own cabin. 

"Now Bre'er 'Liab, yer comes ter supper wid us. Lugena's jes' a 
callin' on't." 

"Oh, don't, Nimbus," said the other, shrinking away. "I can't! 
You jes send one of the chillen in with it, as usual." 

"No yer don't," said Nimbus; "yer's been a scoldin' an' abusin' 
me all dis yer time, an' now I'se gwine ter hab my way fer a little 
while." 

He went to the door and called: 

"Gena! Oh, Gena!" and as his wife did not answer, he said to 
one of his children, "Oh, Axylone, jes run inter de kitchen, son, 
an' tell yer ma ter put on anudder plate, fer Bre'er 'Liab's comin' 
ober ter take a bite wid us." 

Eliab kept on protesting, but it was in vain. Nimbus bent over 
him as tenderly as a mother over the cradle of her first-born, 
clasped his arms about him, and lifting him from the bench bore 
him away to his own house. 

"With an unconscious movement, which was evidently ac- 



48 Bricks Without Straw 

quired by long experience, the afflicted man cast one arm over 
Nimbus' shoulder, put the other around him, and leaning across 
the stalwart breast of his friend so evenly distributed his weight 
that the other bore him with ease. Entering his own house. 
Nimbus placed his burden in the chair at the head of the table, 
while he himself took his seat on one of the wooden benches at 
the side. 

"I jes brought Bre'er 'Liab in ter supper, honey," said he to his 
wife; "kase I see'd he war gettin' inter de dumps like, an' I 
'llowed yer'd chirk him up a bit ef yer jes hed him over h'yer a 
while." 

""Shan't do it," said the bright-eyed woman saucily. 
""Kase why?" queried her husband. 
"Kase Bre'er 'Liab don't come oftener. Dat's why." 
"Dar, now, jes see what yer done git fer being so contrary-like, 
will yer?" said the master to his guest. "H'yer, you Axylone," he 
continued to his eldest born, '"fo'd up yer ban's while Bre'er 'Liab 
ax de blessin'. You, too, Capting," shaking his finger at a roll of 
animated blackness on the end of the seat opposite. "Now, Bre'er 
'Liab." 

The little black fingers were interlocked, the close-clipped, 
kinky heads were bowed upon them; the master of the house 
bent reverently over his plate; the plump young wife crossed her 
hands demurely on the bright handle of the big coffee-pot by 
which she stood, and "'Bre'er 'Liab," clasping his slender fingers, 
uplifted his eyes and hands to heaven, and uttered a grace which 
grew into a prayer. His voice was full of thankfulness, and tears 
crept from under his trembling lids. 

The setting sun, which looked in upon the peaceful scene, no 
doubt flickered and giggled with laughter as he sank to his 
evening couch with the thought, '"How quick these 'sassy' free- 
niggers do put on airs like white folks!" 

In the tobacco-field on the hillside back of his house. Nimbus 
and his wife, Lugena, wrought in the light of the full moon 



Damon and Pythias 49 

nearly all the night which followed, and early on the morrow 
Nimbus harnessed his mule into his canvas-covered wagon, in 
which, upon a bed of straw, reclined his friend Eliab Hill, and 
drove again to the place of registration. On arriving there he 
took his friend in his arms, carried him in and sat him on the 
railing before the Board. Clasping the blanket close about his 
deformed extremities the cripple leaned upon his friend's shoul- 
der and answered the necessary questions with calmness and 
precision. 

"There's a pair for you, captain," said Gleason, nodding good- 
naturedly toward Nimbus as he bore his helpless charge again to 
the wagon. 

"Is he white?" asked the officer, with a puzzled look. 
"White?" exclaimed Sheriff Gleason, with a laugh. "No, in- 

; deed! He's a nigger preacher who lives with Nimbus down at 
Red Wing. They're great cronies — always together. I expect he's 
at the bottom of all the black nigger's perversity, though he 
always seems as smooth and respectful as you please. He's a deep 

|i one. I 'How he does all the scheming, and just makes Nimbus a 
cat's-paw to do his work. I don't know much about him, though. 
He hardly ever talks with anybody." 

"He seems a very remarkable man," said the officer. 

"Oh, he is," said the sheriff. "Even in slave times he was a very 

i influential man among the niggers, and since freedom he and 

^ Nimbus together rule the whole settlement. I don't suppose there 

; are ten white men in the county who could control, square out 
and out, as many votes as these two will have in hand when they 

) once get to voting." 

I "Was he a slave? What is his history?" 

I "I don't exactly know," answered the sheriff. "He is quite a 
young man, and somehow I never happened to hear of him till 
some time during the war. Then he was a sort of prophet among 

I i them, and while he did a power of praying for you Yanks, he 
always counselled the colored people to be civil and patient, and 
not try to run away or go to cutting up, but just to wait till the 



50 Bricks Without Straw 

end came. He was just right, too, and his course quieted the white 
folks down here on the river, where there was a big slave 
population, more than a little." 

"I should like to know more of him," said the chairman. 

"All right," said Gleason, looking around. "If Hesden Le 
Moyne is here, I'll get him to tell you all about him, at noon. If 
he is not here then, he will come in before night, I'm certain." 



8 • A Friendly Prologue 



As they went from the place of registration to their dinner at 
the hotel, the sheriff, walking beside the chairman, said: "I spoke 
to Le Moyne about that negro fellow, Eliab Hill, and he says he's ' 
very willing to tell you all he knows about him; but, as there are I 
some private matters connected with the story, he prefers to 
come to your room after dinner, rather than speak of it more 
publicly." 

"I am sure I shall be much obliged to him if he will do so," 
said Pardee. 

"You will find him one of the very finest men you ever met, 
I'm thinking," continued Gleason. "His father, Casaubon Le 
Moyne, was very much of a gentleman. He came from Virginia, 
and was akin to the Le Moynes of South Carolina, one of the best 
of those old French families that brag so much of their Hu- 
guenot blood. I never believed in it myself, but they are a mighty 
elegant family; no doubt of that. I've got the notion that they 
were not as well off as they might be. Perhaps the family got too 



A Friendly Prologue 51 

big for the estate. That would happen with these old families, 
you know; but they were as high-toned and honorable as if their 
forebears had been kings. Not proud, I don't mean — not a bit of 
that — but high-spirited and hot-tempered. 

"His mother was a Richards — Hester Richards — the daughter 
lof old man Jeems Richards. The family was a mighty rich one; 
used to own all up and down the river on both sides, from Red 
Wing to Mulberry Hill, where Hesden now lives. Richards had a 
big family of boys and only one gal, who was the youngest. The 
boys was all rather tough customers, I've heard say, taking after 
their father, who was about as hard a man to get along with as 
was ever in this country. He came from up North somewhere 
about 1790, when everybody thought this pea- vine country was a 
sort of new Garden of Eden. He was a well educated and capable 
man, but had a terrible temper. He let the boys go to the devil 
itheir own way, just selling off a plantation now and then and 
paying their debts. He had so much land that it was a good thing 
for him to get rid of it. But he doted on the gal, and sent her off 
to school and travelled with her and give her every sort of 
•advantage. She was a beauty, and as sweet and good as she was 
jpretty. How she come to marry Casaubon Le Moyne nobody ever 
(knew; but it's just my opinion that it was because they loved 
.each other, and nothing else. They certainly were the best 
matched couple that I ever saw. They had but one child — this 
'?oung man Hesden. His mother was always an invalid after his 
birth; in fact hasn't walked a step since that time. She was a very 
remarkable woman, though, and in spite of her sickness took 
ctharge of her son's education and fitted him for college all by 
herself. The boy grew up sorter quiet like, probably on account 
(bf being in his mother's sick room so much; but there wasn't 
anything soft about him, after all. 

; "The old man Casaubon was a Unioner — the strongest kind. 

j VTighty few of them in this county, which was one of the largest 

ilave-holding counties in the State. It never had anything but a 



52 Bricks Without Straw 

big Democratic majority in it, in the old times. I think the old 
man Le Moyne run for the Legislature here some seven times 
before he was elected, and then it was only on his personal 
popularity. That was the only time the county ever had a Whig 
representative even. When the war came on, the old man was 
right down sick. I do believe he saw the end from the beginning. 
I've heard him tell things almost to a fraction jest as they came 
out afterward. Well, the young man Hesden, he had his father's 
notions, of course, but he was pluck. He couldn't have been a Le 
Moyne, or a Richards either, without that. I remember, not long 
after the war begun — perhaps in the second year, before the 
conscription came on, anyhow — he came into town riding of a 
black colt that he had raised. I don't think k had been backed 
more than a few times, and it was just as fine as a fiddle. I've had 
some fine horses myself, and believe I know what goes to make 
up a good nag, but I've never seen one that suited my notion as 
well as that black. Le Moyne had taken a heap of pains with him. 
A lot of folks gathered 'round and was admiring the beast, and 
asking questions about his pedigree and the like, when all at once 
a big, lubberly fellow named Timlow — Jay Timlow — said it was 
a great pity that such a fine nag should belong to a Union man 
an' a traitor to his country. You know, captain, that's what we 
called Union men in them days. He hadn't more'n got the words 
out of his mouth afore Hesden hit him. I'd no idea he could 
strike such a blow. Timlow was forty pounds heavier than he, 
but it staggered him back four or five steps, and Le Moyne 
follered him up, hitting just about as fast as he could straighten 
his arm, till he dropped. The queerest thing about it was that the 
horse follered right along, and when Timlow come down with 
his face all battered up, and Le Moyne wheeled about and started 
over to the Court House, the horse kept on follerin' him up to 
the very steps. Le Moyne went into the Court House and stayed 
about ten minutes. Then he came out and walked straight across 
the square to where the crowd was around Timlow, who had 



A Friendly Prologue 53 

been washing the blood off his face at the pump. Le Moyne was 
as white as a sheet, and Timlow was jest a-cussing his level best 
about what he would do when he sot eyes on him again. I 
thought there might be more trouble, and I told Timlow to hush 
his mouth — I was a deputy then — and then I told Le Moyne he 
mustn't come any nearer. He was only a few yards away, with a 
paper in his hand, and that horse just behind him. He stopped 
when I called him, and said: 

" 'You needn't fear my coming for any further difficulty, 
gentlemen. I merely want to say' — and he held up the paper — 
'that I have enlisted in the army of the Confederate States, and 
taken this horse to ride — given him to the Government. And I 
want to say further, that if Jay Timlow wants to do any fighting, 
and will go and enlist, I'll furnish him a horse, too.' 

"With that he jumped on his horse and rode away, followed 
by a big cheer, while Jay Timlow stood on the pump platform 
sopping his head with his handkerchief, his eyes as big as saucers, 
as they say, from surprise. We were all surprised, for that matter. 
As soon as we got over that a little we began to rally Timlow 
over the outcome of his little fracas. There wasn't no such timber 
in him as in young Le Moyne, of course — a big beefy fellow — 
but he couldn't stand that, and almost before we had got well 
started he put on his hat, looked round at the crowd a minute, 
and said, 'Dammed if I don't do it!' He marched straight over to 
the Court House and did it, too. 

"Le Moyne stood up to his bargain, and they both went out in 
the same company a few days afterward. They became great 
friends, and they do say the Confederacy had mighty few better 
soldiers than those two boys. Le Moyne was offered promotion 
i time and again, but he wouldn't take it. He said he didn't like 
war, didn't believe in it, and didn't want no responsibility only 
; for himself. Just about the last fighting they had over about 
Appomattox — perhaps the very day before the Surrender — he 
lost that horse and his left arm a-fighting over that same Jay 



54 Bricks Without Straw 

Timlow, who had got a ball in the leg, and Le Moyne was trying 
to keep him out of the hands of you Yanks. 

"He got back after a while, and has been living with his 
mother on the old plantation ever since. He married a cousin just 
before he went into the service — more to have somebody to leave 
with his ma than because he wanted a wife, folks said. The old 
man, Colonel Casaubon, died during the war. He never seemed 
like himself after the boy went into the army. I saw him once or 
twice, and I never did see such a change in any man. Le Moyne's 
wife died, too. She left a little boy, who with Le Moyne and his 
ma are all that's left of the family. I don't reckon there ever was 
a man thought more of his mother, or had a mother more worth 
setting store by, than Hesden Le Moyne." 

They had reached the hotel when this account was concluded, 
and after dinner the sheriff came to the captain's room and 
introduced a slender young man in neatly fitting jeans, with blue 
eyes, a dark brown beard, and an empty coat-sleeve, as Mr. 
Hesden Le Moyne. 

He put his felt hat under the stump of his left arm and, 
extended his right hand as he said simply: 

"The sheriff said you wished to see me about Eliab Hill." 

"I did," was the response; "but after what he has told me, I 
desired to see you much more for yourself." 

The sheriff withdrew, leaving them alone together, and theyi 
fell to talking of army life at once, as old soldiers always will, 
each trying to locate the other in the strife which they had passed 
through on opposite sides. 



9 • A Bruised Reed 



"Eliab Hill," said Le Moyne, when they came at length to the 

subject in relation to which the interview had been solicited, 

"was born the slave of Potem Desmit, on his plantation Knapp- 

of-Reeds, in the lower part of the county. His mother was a very 

likely woman, considerable darker than he, but still not more 

', than a quadroon, I should say. She was brought from Colonel 

: Desmit's home plantation to Knapp-of-Reeds some little time 

before her child was born. It was her first child, I believe, and her 

last one. She was a very slender woman, and though not espe- 

i daily unhealthy, yet never strong, being inclined to consumption, 

:: of which she finally died. Of course his paternity is unknown, 

> though rumor has not been silent in regard to it. It is said that a 

"i stubborn refusal on his mother's part to reveal it led Colonel 

Desmit, in one of his whimsical moods, to give the boy the name 

J he bears. However, he was as bright a child as ever frolicked 

about a plantation till he was some five or six years old. His 

I mother had been a house-servant before she was sent to Knapp- 

I of-Reeds, and being really a supernumerary there, my father 

hired her a year or two afterward as a nurse for my mother, who 

J has long been an invalid, as you may be aware." 

|l His listener nodded assent, and he went on: 

'■ "Her child was left at Knapp-of-Reeds, but Saturday nights it 

was brought over to stay the Sunday with her, usually by this boy 

s Nimbus, who was two or three years older than he. The first I 

remember of his misfortune was one Saturday, when Nimbus 

I brought him over in a gunny-sack, on his back. It was not a 

great way, hardly half a mile, but I remember thinking that it 

was a pretty smart tug for the little black rascal. I was not more 

than a year or two older than he, myself, and not nearly so 

strong. 

55 



56 Bricks Without Straw 

"It seems that something had happened to the boy, I never 
knew exactly what — seems to me it was a cold resulting from 
some exposure, which settled in his legs, as they say, producing 
rheumatism or something of that kind — so that he could not 
walk or hardly stand up. The boy Nimbus had almost the sole 
charge of him during the week, and of course he lacked for 
intelligent treatment. In fact, I doubt if Desmit's overseer knew 
anything about it until it was too late to do any good. He was a 
bright, cheerful child, and Nimbus was the same dogged, quiet 
thing he is now. So it went on, until his mother, Moniloe, found 
that he had lost all use of his legs. They were curled up at one 
side, as you saw them, and while his body has developed well 
they have grown but little in comparison. 

"Moniloe made a great outcry over the child, to whom she was 
much attached, and finally wrought upon my father and mother 
to buy herself and her crippled boy. Colonel Desmit, on whom 
the burden of his maintenance would fall, and who saw no 
method of making him self-supporting, was willing to sell the 
mother on very moderate terms if my father would take the child 
and guarantee his support. This was done, and they both became 
my father's property. Neither forgot to be grateful. The woman 
was my mother's faithful nurse until after the war, when she 
died, and I have never been able to fill her place completely, 
since. I think Eliab learned his letters, and perhaps to read a 
little, from me. He was almost always in my mother's room, 
being brought in and set down upon a sheepskin on one side the 
fireplace in the morning by his mammy. My mother had great ' 
sympathy with his misfortune, the more, I suppose, because of ' 
her own very similar affliction. She used to teach him to sew and '■ 
knit, and finally, despite the law, began to encourage him to read. 
The neighbors, coming in and finding him with a book in his* 
hands, began to complain of it, and my father, in order to silence I 
all such murmurs, manumitted him square out and gave bonds' 
for his support, as the law required. 



] A Bruised Reed 57 

"As he grew older he remained more and more in his mother's 

cabin, in one corner of which she had a httle elevated platform 

made for him. He could crawl around the room by means of his 

hands, and had great skill in clambering about by their aid. 

} When he was about fifteen a shoemaker came to the house to do 

our plantation work. Eliab watched him closely all the first day; 

on the second desired to help, and before the month had passed 

was as good a shoemaker as his teacher. From that time he 

j worked steadily at the trade, and managed very greatly to reduce 

|! the cost of his support. 

|i "He was a strange boy, and he and this fellow Nimbus were 
always together except when prevented by the latter's tasks. A 
1 thousand times I have known Nimbus to come over long after 
Ij dark and leave before daylight, in order to stay with his friend 
• over night. Not unfrequently he would carry him home upon his 
f back and keep him for several days at Knapp-of-Reeds, where 
(both were prime favorites, as they were with us also. As they 
\ grew older this attachment became stronger. Many's the time I 
I have passed there and seen Nimbus working in the tobacco and 
^ Eliab with his hammers and lasts pounding away under a tree 
f! near by. Having learned to read, the man was anxious to know 
5 more. For a time he was indulged, but as the hot times just 
preceding the war came on, it became indiscreet for him to be 
£ seen with a book. 

( "While he was still very young he began to preach, and his 
51 ministrations were peculiarly prudent and sensible. His influence 
! with his people, even before emancipation, was very great, and 
[(has been increased by his correct and manly conduct since. I 
y regard him, sir, as one of the most useful men in the community. 
f "For some reason, I have never known exactly what, he 
jbecame anxious to leave my house soon after Nimbus' return 
;-ifrom the army, although I had offered him the free use of the 
J little shop where he and his mother had lived, as long as he 
desired. He and Nimbus, by some hook or crook, managed to buy 



58 Bricks Without Straw 

the place at Red Wing. It was a perfectly barren piney old-field 
then, and not thought of any account except for the timber there 
was on it. It happened to be at the crossing of two roads, and 
upon a high sandy ridge, which was thought to be too poor to 
raise peas on. The man who sold it to them — their old master 
Potem Desmit — no doubt thought he was getting two or three 
prices for it; but it has turned out one of the best tobacco farms 
in the county. It is between two very rich sections, and in a 
country having a very large colored population, perhaps the 
largest in the county, working the river plantations on one side 
and the creek bottoms on the other. I have heard that Nimbus 
takes great credit to himself for his sagacity in foreseeing the 
capabilities of Red Wing. If he really did detect its value at that 
time, it shows a very fine judgment and accounts for his prosper- 
ity since. Eliab Hill affirms this to be true, but most people think 
he does the planning for the whole settlement. Nimbus has done 
extremely well, however. He has sold off, I should judge, nearly 
half his land, in small parcels, has worked hard, and had excel- 
lent crops. I should not wonder, if his present crop comes off well 
and the market holds on, if before Christmas he v/ere worth as 
many thousands as he had hundreds the day he bought that piney 
old-field. It don't take much tobacco at a dollar a pound, which 
his last crop brought, lugs and all, to make a man that does his 
own work and works his own land right well off. He's had good 
luck, has worked hard, and has either managed well or been well ' 
advised; it don't matter which. 

"He has gathered a good crowd around him too, sober, hard- 
working men; and most of them have done well too. So that it' 
has become quite a flourishing little settlement. I suppose there' 
are some fifty or sixty families live there. They have a church,' 
which they use for a school-house, and it is by a great deal the' 
best school-house in the county too. Of course they got outside 
help, some from the Bureau, I reckon, and more perhaps from 
some charitable association. I should think the church or school-! 



A Bruised Reed 59 

house must have cost fifteen hundred or two thousand dollars. 
They have a splendid school. Two ladies from the North are 
teaching there — real ladies, I should judge, too." 
The listener smiled at this indorsement. 

"I see," said Le Moyne, "it amuses you that I should qualify 
,my words in that manner. It seems unneccessary to you." 
, "Entirely so." 

j "Well, it may be; but I assure you, sir, we find it hard to 
believe that any one who will come down here and teach niggers 
; is of very much account at home." 

. "They are generally of the very cream of our Northern life," 
; said the other. "I know at this very time the daughters of several 
■jprominent clergymen, of two college professors, of a wealthy 
J merchant, of a leading manufacturer, and of several wealthy 
jfarmers, who are teaching in these schools. It is missionary work, 
ciyou see — just as much as going to Siam or China. I have never 
^known a more accomplished, devoted, or thoroughly worthy class 
l;Of ladies, and do not doubt that these you speak of, well deserve 
lyont praise without qualification." 

i "Well, it may be," said the other dubiously; "but it is hard for 
j'us to understand, you know. Now, they live in a little old house, 
r which they have fixed up with flowers and one thing and another 
jtill it is very attractive — on the outside, at least. I know nothing 
^about the inside since their occupancy. It was a notable place in 
[[the old time, but had quite run down before they came. I don't 
suppose they see a white person once a month to speak to them, 
[lunless indeed some of the officers come over from the post at 
liiBoyleston, now and then. I am sure that no lady would think of 
j-<visiting them or admitting them to her house. I know a few 
-gentlemen who have visited the school just out of curiosity. 
Indeed, I have ridden over once myself, and I must say it is well 
1 worth seeing. I should say there were three or four hundred 
r scholars, of all ages, sizes, and colors — black, brown, white appar- 
j sntly, and all shades of what we used to call 'ginger-cake.' These 



6o Bricks Without Straw 

two ladies and the man Eliab teach them. It is perfectly wonder- 
ful how they do get on. You ought to see it." 

"I certainly shall," said Pardee, "as a special duty calls me 
there. How would it do for a polling-place?" 

"There ought to be one there, but I should be afraid of 
trouble," answered Le Moyne seriously. 

"Name me one or two good men for poll-holders, and I will 
risk any disorder." 

"Well, there is Eliab. He's a good man if there ever was one, 
and capable too." 

"How about Nimbus?" 

"He's a good man too, honest as the day is long, hardheaded 
and determined, but he can't read or write." 

"That is strange." 

"It is strange, but one of the teachers was telling me so when I 
was there. I think he has got so that he can sign his first 
name — his only one, he insists — but that is all, and he cannot 
read a word." 

"I should have thought he would have been one of the first to 
learn that much at least." 

"So should I. He is the best man of affairs among them 
all — has good judgment and sense, and is always trying to do 
something to get on. He says he is 'too busy to get larnin', an' 
leaves that and preachin' to Bre'er 'Liab.' " 

"Do they keep up their former intimacy?" 

"Keep it up? 'Liab lives in Nimbus' lot, has his meals from his 
table, and is toted about by Nimbus just the same as if they were 
still boys. Nimbus seems to think more of him than he would ol 
a brother — than he does of his brothers, for he has two whom he 
seems to care nothing about. His wife and children are just as 
devoted to the cripple as Nimbus, and 'Liab, on his part, seems to 
think as much of them as if they were his own. They get along 
first-rate, and are prospering finely, but I am afraid they wil 
have trouble yet." 



] An Express Trust 6i 

I "Why so?" 

"Oh, well, I don't know; they are niggers, you see, and our 

; people are not used to such things." 

j "I hope your apprehensions are groundless." 

j "Well, I hope so too." 

The officer looked at his watch and remarked that he must 

(return to his duty, and after thanking his companion for a 
pleasant hour, and being invited to call at Mulberry Hill when- 

^ever occasion might serve, the two men parted, each with pleas- 
ant impressions of the other. 



lo • An Express Trust 



Fortunately for Nimbus, he had received scarcely anything of 
])his pay while in the service, and none of the bounty-money due 
jihim, until some months after the surrender, when he was dis- 
charged at a post near his old home. On the next day it happened 
that there was a sale of some of the transportation at this post, 
land through the co-operation of one of his officers he was 
enabled to buy a good mule with saddle and bridle for a song, 
and by means of these reached home on the day after. He was so 
:i(>proud of his new acquisition that he could not be induced to 
[((remain a single day with his former comrades. He had hardly 
,{inore than assured himself of the safety of his wife and children 
:ibefore he went to visit his old friend and playmate, Eliab Hill, 
[;;He found that worthy in a state of great depression. 

"You see," he explained to his friend, "Mister Le Moyne" 



62 Bricks Without Straw 

(with a slight emphasis on the title) "bery kindly offered me de 
use ob dis cabin 's long as I might want it, and has furnished me 
with nearly all I have had since the S'rrender. "While my mother 
lived and he had her services and a well-stocked plantation and 
plenty ob hands, I didn't hab no fear o' being a burden to him. I 
knew he would get good pay fer my support, fer I did de 
shoemakin' fer his people, and made a good many clo'es fer dem 
too. Thanks to Miss Hester's care, I had learned to use my needle, 
as you know, an' could do common tailorin' as well as shoe- 
makin'. I got very little fer my wuk but Confederate money and 
provisions, which my mother always insisted that Mr. Le Moyne 
should have the benefit on, as he had given me my freedom and 
was under bond for my support. 

"Since de S'rrender, t'ough dere is plenty ob wuk nobody has 
any money. Mr. Le Moyne is just as bad off as anybody, an' has to 
go in debt fer his supplies. His slaves was freed, his wife is dead, 
he has nobody to wait on Miss Hester, only as he hires a nuss; his 
little boy is to take keer on, an' he with only one arm an' jes a ^ 
bare plantation with scarcely any stock left to him. It comes hard ' 
fer me to eat his bread and owe him so much when I can't do 
nothin' fer him in return. I know he don't mind it, an' b'lieve he 
would feel hurt if he knew how I feel about it; but I can't help 
it. Nimbus — I can't, no way." 

"Oh, yer mustn't feel that 'ere way, Bre'er 'Liab," said his 
friend. "Co'se it's hard fer you jes now, an' may be a little rough 
on Marse Moyne. But yer mus' member dat atter a little our 
folks'll hev money. White folks got ter have wuk done; nebber 
do it theirselves; you know dat; an' ef we does it now we's boun* 
ter hev pay fer it. An' when we gits money, you gits wuk. Jes' let 
Marse Moyne wait till de crap comes off, an' den yer'U make it 
all squar wid him. I tell yer what, 'Liab, it's gwine ter be great' 
times fer us niggers, now we's free. Yer sees dat mule out dar?' 
he asked, pointing to a sleek bay animal which he had tied to the! 
rack in front of the house when he rode up. 



An Express Trust 63 

"Yes, o' course I do," said the other, with very little interest in 
his voice. 

"Likely critter, ain't it?" asked Nimbus, with a peculiar tone. 
j "Certain. Whose is it?" 

j "Wal, now, dat's jes ed2ackly de question I wuz gwine ter ax 
fof you. Whose yer spose 'tis?" 

"I'm sure I don't know. One o' Mr. Ware's?" 
i "I should tink not, honey; not edzackly now. Dat ar mule 
'b'longs ter me — Nimbus! D'yer h'yer dat, 'Liab?" 
I "No! Yer don't tell me? Bless de Lord, Nimbus, yer's a 
.fortunit man. Yer fortin's made, Nimbus. All yer's got ter do is 
ter wuk fer a livin' de rest of this year, an' then put in a crap of 
terbacker next year, an' keep gwine on a wukkin' an' savin', an' 
lyer fortin's made. Ther ain't no reason why yer shouldn't be rich 
lafore yer's fifty. Bless the Lord, Nimbus, I'se that glad for you dat 
I can't find no words fer it." 

j The cripple stretched out both hands to his stalwart friend, 
J and the tears which ran down his cheeks attested the sincerity of 
jhis words. Nimbus took his outstretched hands, held them in his 
(Own a moment, then went to the door, looked carefully about, 
;,icame back again, and with some embarrassment said, 
( "An' dat ain't all, Bre'er 'Liab. Jes' you look dar." 

As he spoke Nimbus took an envelope from the inside pocket 
jof his soldier jacket and laid it on the bench where the other sat. 
il'Liab looked up in surprise, but in obedience to a gesture from 
^INimbus opened it and counted the contents. 
^ "Mos' five hundred dollars!" he said at length, in amazement. 
'■"Dis yours too, Bre'er Nimbus?" 

J "Co'se it is. Didn't I tell yer dar wuz a good time comin'?" 
. "Bre'er Nimbus," said Eliab solemnly, "you gib me your word 
^you git all dis money honestly?" 

• "Co'se I did. Yer don't s'pose Nimbus am a-gwine ter turn 
jithief at dis day, does yer?" 

"How you g&t it?" asked Eliab sternly. 



64 Bricks Without Straw 

"How I git it?" answered the other indignantly. "You see dem 
clo'es? Hain't I been a-sojerin' nigh onter two year now? Hain't I 
hed pay an' bounty, an' rations too? One time I wuz cut off from 
de regiment, an' 'ported missin' nigh bout fo' months afo' I 
managed ter git over ter Port R'yal an' 'port fer duty, an' dey gib 
me money fer rations all dat time. Tell yer, 'Liab, it all counts up. 
I'se spent a heap 'sides dat." 

Still Eliab looked incredulous. 

"You see dat discha.rge?" said Nimbus, pulling the document 
from his pocket. "You jes look at what de paymaster writ on dat, 
ef yer don't b'lieve Nimbus hez hed any luck. 'Sides dat, I'se got 
de dockyments h'yer ter show jes whar an' how I got dat mule." 

The care which had been exercised by his officer in providing 
Nimbus with the written evidence of his ownership of the mule 
was by no means needless. According to the common law, the 
possession of personal property is prima facie evidence of its 
ownership; but in those early days, before the nation undertook 
to spread the aegis of equality over him, such was not the rule in 
the case of the freedman. Those first legislatures, elected only by 
the high-minded land-owners of the South, who knew the Afri- 
can, his needs and wants, as no one else could know them, and 
who have always proclaimed themselves his truest friends, en- 
acted with especial care that he should not "hold nor own nor' 
have any rights of property in any horse, mule, hog, cow, steer, or 
other stock," unless the same was attested by a bill of sale or' 
other instrument of writing executed by the former owner. It was 
well for Nimbus that he was armed with his "dockyments." 

Eliab Hill took the papers handed him by Nimbus, and read,' 
slowly and with evident difficulty; but as he mastered line after' 
line the look of incredulity vanished, and a glow of solemn joy' 
spread over his face. It was the first positive testimony of actual' 
freedom — the first fruits of self-seeking, self-helping manhood on 
the part of his race which had come into the secluded country 



An Express Trust 65 

region and gladdened the heart of the stricken prophet and 
; adviser. 
I With a sudden jerk he threw himself off his low bench, and 

burying his head upon it poured forth a prayer of gratitude for 
, this evidence of prayer fulfilled. His voice was full of tears, and 

when he said "Amen," and Nimbus rose from his knees and put 

forth his hand to help him as he scrambled upon his bench, the 
: cripple caught the hand and pressed it close, as he said: 
. "Bress God, Nimbus, I'se seen de time often an' often 'nough 
I when I'se hed ter ax de Lor' ter keep me from a-envyin' an' 
J grudgin' de white folks all de good chances dey hed in dis world; 
'but now I'se got ter fight agin' covetin' anudder nigga's luck. 
,: Bress de Lor', Nimbus, I'se gladder, I do b'lieve, fer what's come 
j^ter you dan yer be yerself. It'll do you a power of good — you an' 
.yours — but what good wud it do if a poor crippled feller like me 
3 hed ix?. Not a bit. Jes' git him bread an' meat. Nimbus, dat's all. 
jOh, de Lord knows what he's 'bout. Nimbus. Mind you dat. He 
..didn't give you all dat money fer nothing, an' yer'U hev ter 'count 
nfer it, dat you will; mighty close too, 'kase he keeps his books 
.jiright. Yer must see ter dat, Bre'er Nimbus." The exhortation was 
^earnestly given, and was enforced with tears and soft strokings of 

the dark strong hand which he still clasped in his soft and 
I slender ones. 

jj "Now don't you go ter sayin' nuffin' o' dat kind, ole feller. I'se 
jfbeen a-tinkin' ebber sence I got dat money dat it's jes ez much 
,;.'Liab's ez 'tis mine. Ef it hadn't been fer you I'd nebber knowed 

I'nough ter go ober to de Yanks, when ole Mahs'r send me down 
[ter wuk on de fo'tifications, an' so I neber git it at all. So now, yer 
csee, Bre'er 'Liab, you' 5 gwine ter keep dat 'ere money. I don't feel 
,(<half safe wid it nohow, till we find out jes what we wants ter do 
;Wid it. I 'lows dat we'd better buy a plantation somewheres. Den 

\ kin wuk it, yer know, an' you kin hev a shop, an' so we kin go 
-zahoots, an' gvt along right smart. Yer see, ef we do dat, we allers 



66 Bricks Without Straw 

hez a livin', anyhow, an' der ain't no such thing ez spendin' an' 
losin' what we've got." 

There was great demurrer on the part of the afflicted friend, 
but he finally consented to become his old crony's banker. He 
insisted, however, on giving him a very formal and peculiarly 
worded receipt for the money and papers which he received from 
him. Considering that they had to learn the very rudiments of 
business, Eliab Hill was altogether right in insisting upon a 
scrupulous observance of what he deemed "the form of sound 
words." 

In speaking of the son of his former owner as "Mister," Eliab 
Hill meant to display nothing of arrogance or disrespect. The 
titles "Master" and "Missus," were the badges of slavery and 
inferiority. Against their use the mind of the freedman rebelled 
as instinctively as the dominant race insisted on its continuance. 
The "Black Codes" of 1865, the only legislative acts of the South 
since the war which were not affected in any way by national 
power or Northern sentiment, made it incumbent on the freed- 
man, whom it sought to continue in serfdom, to use this form of 
address, and denounced its neglect as disrespectful to the "Mas- 
ter" or "Mistress." When these laws ceased to be operative, the 
custom of the white race generally was still to demand the 
observance of the form, and this demand tended to embitter the 
dislike of the freedmen for it. At first, almost the entire race 
refused. After a while the habit of generations began to assert' 
itself. While the more intelligent and better educated of the' 
original stock discarded its use entirely, the others, and the' 
children who had grown up since emancipation, came to use it' 
almost interchangeably with the ordinary form of address. Thus' 
Eliab Hill, always nervously alive to the fact of freedom, never' 
allowed the words to pass his lips after the Surrender, except' 
when talking with Mrs. Le Moyne, to whose kindness he owed so! 
much in early years. On the other hand, Nimbus, with an equal 
aversion to everything connected with slavery, but without the' 



! Red Wing 67 

same mental activity, sometimes dropped into the old familiar 
habit. He would have died rather than use the word at another's 

i dictation or as a badge of inferiority, but the habit was too strong 
for one of his grade of intellect to break away from at once. Since 
the success of the old slaveholding element of the South in 
subverting the governments based on the equality of political 

, right and power, this form of address has become again almost 

i universal except in the cities and large towns. 



II 



Red Wing 



\ Situated on the sandy, undulating chain of low, wooded hills 
^ which separated the waters of two tributaries of the Roanoke, at 
^ the point where the "big road" from the West crossed the country 
3 road which ran northward along the crest of the ridge, as if in 
J search of dry footing between the rich valleys on either hand, was 
3; the place known as Red Wing. The "big road" had been a 
ti thoroughfare from the West in the old days before steam diverted 
J the ways of traffic from the trails which the wild beasts had 
j,i pursued. It led through the mountain gaps, by devious ways but 
iijby easy grades, along the banks of the water-courses and across 
ijithe shallowest fords down to the rich lowlands of the East. 
;: It was said that the buffalo, in forgotten ages, had marked out 
rithis way to the ever- verdant reed-pastures of the then unwooded 
; East; that afterward the Indians had followed his lead, and, as 
:the season served, had fished upon the waters of Currituck or 
u hunted amid the romantic ruggedness of the Blue Appalachians. 



68 Bricks Without Straw 

It was known that the earlier settlers along the Smoky Range 
and on the Piedmont foothills had used this thoroughfare to take 
the stock and produce of their farms down to the great planta- 
tions of the East, where cotton was king, and to the turpentine 
orchards of the South Atlantic shore line. 

At the crossing of these roads was situated a single house, 
which had been known for generations, far and near, as the Red 
Wing Ordinary. In the old colonial days it had no doubt been a 
house of entertainment for man and beast. Tradition, very well 
based and universally accepted, declared that along these roads 
had marched and countermarched the hostile forces of the Revo- 
lutionary period. Greene and Cornwallis had dragged their weary \ 
columns over the tenacious clay of this region, past the very door 
of the low-eaved house, built up of heavy logs at first and 
covered afterward with fat-pine siding, which had itself grown 
brown and dark with age. It was said that the British regulars 
had stacked their arms around the trunk of the monster white- 
oak that stretched its great arms out over the low dark house, 
which seemed to be creeping nearer and nearer to its mighty 
trunk for protection, until of late years the spreading branches 
had dropped their store of glossy acorns and embossed cups even 
on the farther slope of its mossy roof, a good twenty yards away 
from the scarred and rugged bole. "Two decks and a passage" — 
two moderate-sized rooms with a wide open pass-way between, 
and a low dark porch running along the front — constituted all 
that was left of a once well-known place of public refreshment. 
At each end a stone chimney, yellowish gray and of a massive- 
ness now wonderful to behold, rose above the gable like a 
shattered tower above the salient of some old fortress. The 
windows still retained the little square panes and curious glazing 
of a century ago. Below it, fifty yards away to the eastward, a 
bold spring burst out of the granite rock, spread deep and still 
and cool over its white sandy bottom, in the stone-walled inclo- 
sure where it was confined (over half of which stood the ample 



Red Wing 69 

milk-house ) , and then gurgling along the stony outlet ran away- 
over the ripple-marked sands of its worn channel, to join the 
) waters of the creek a mile away. 

I It was said that in the olden time there had been sheds and 
; out-buildings, and perhaps some tributary houses for the use of 

1 lodgers, all of which belonged to and constituted a part of the 
}i Ordinary. Two things had deprived it of its former glory. The 
! mart-way had changed even before the iron horse charged across 
! the old routes, scorning their pretty curves and dashing in an 
;! almost direct line from mountain to sea. Increasing population 
i- had opened new routes, which diverted the traffic and were 
^ preferred to the old way by travelers. Besides this, there had been 
: a feud between the owner of the Ordinary and the rich proprie- 
ji tor whose outspread acres encircled on every side the few thin 
fi roods which were attached to the hostel, and when the owner 
i\ thereof died and the property, in the course of administration, 
i was put upon the market, the rich neighbor bought it, despoiled 
i) it of all its accessories, and left only the one building of two 
^ rooms below and two above, a kitchen and a log stable, with crib 

2 attached, upon the site of the Ordinary which had vexed him so 
t long. The others were all cleared away, and even the little 
^ opening around the Ordinary was turned out to grow up in pines 
- and black-jacks, all but an acre or two of garden-plot behind the 
s house. The sign was removed, and the overseer of Colonel 
If Walter Greer, the new owner, was installed in the house, which 
ill thenceforth lost entirely its character as an inn. 

■i In the old days, before the use of artificial heat in the curing of 
8: tobacco, the heavy, coarse fibre which grew upon rich, loamy 
J" bottom lands or on dark clayey hillsides was chiefly prized by the 
I grower and purchaser of that staple. The light sandy uplands, 
.: thin and gray, bearing only stunted pines or a light growth of 
!' chestnut and clustering chinquapins, interspersed with sour- 
r wood, while here and there a dogwood or a white-coated, white- 
hearted hickory grew, stubborn and lone, were not at all valued 



yo Bricks Without Straw 

as tobacco lands. The light silky variety of that staple was 
entirely unknown, and even after its discovery was for a long 
time unprized, and its habitat and peculiar characteristics little 
understood. It is only since the war of Rebellion that its excel- 
lence has been fully appreciated and its superiority established. 
The timber on this land was of no value except as wood and for 
house-logs. Of the standard timber tree of the region, the oak, 
there was barely enough to fence it, should that ever be thought 
desirable. Corn, the great staple of the region next to tobacco, 
could hardly be "hired" to grow upon the "droughty" soil of the 
ridge, and its yield of the smaller grains, though much better, 
was not sufficient to tempt the owner of the rich lands adjacent 
to undertake its cultivation. This land itself, he thought, was only 
good "to hold the world together" or make a "wet-weather road" 
between the rich tracts on either hand. Indeed, it was a common 
saying in that region that it was "too poor even to raise a 
disturbance upon." 

To the westward of the road running north and south there 
had once been an open field of some thirty or forty acres, where 
the wagoners were wont to camp and the drovers to picket their 
stock in the halcyon days of the old hostelry. It had been the 
muster-ground of the militia too, and there were men yet alive, at 
the time of which we write, whose fathers had mustered with the 
county forces on that ground. When it was "turned out," how- 
ever, and the Ordinary ceased to be a place of entertainment, the 
pines shot up, almost as thick as grassblades in a meadow, over 
its whole expanse. It is strange how they came there. Only 
black-jacks and the lighter decidua which cover such sandy ridges 
had grown there before, but after these were cleared away by the 
hand of man and the plow for a few years had tickled the thin 
soil, when nature again resumed her sway, she sent a countless 
army of evergreens, of mysterious origin, to take and hold this 
desecrated portion of her domain. They sprang up between the 
corn-rows before the stalks had disappeared from sight; they shot j 



1 Red Wing 71 

through the charred embers of the deserted camp-fire; every- 
where, under the shade of each deciduous bush, protected by the 
, shadow of the rank weeds which sprang up where the stock had 
fed, the young pines grew, and protected others, and shot slimly 
up, until their dense growth shut out the sunlight and choked the 
lately protecting shrubbery. Then they grew larger, and the 
weaker ones were overtopped by the stronger and shut out from 
the sunlight and starved to death, and their mouldering frag- 
ments mingled with the carpet of cones and needles which 
i became thicker and thicker under their shade, until at the begin- 
ning of the war a solid, dark mass of pines fit for house-logs, and 
, many even larger, stood upon the old muster- field, and consti- 
mted the chief value of the tract of two hundred acres which lay 
along the west side of the plantation of which it formed a part. 
It was this tract that Nimbus selected as the most advanta- 
J.I geous location for himself and his friend which he could find in 
that region. He rightly judged that the general estimate of its 
J, poverty would incline the owner to part with a considerable tract 
ij at a very moderate price, especially if he were in need of ready 
ji money, as Colonel Desmit was then reputed to be, on account of 
L, the losses he had sustained by the results of the war. His own 
1 idea of its value differed materially from this, and he was thor- 
5 oughly convinced that, in the near future, it would be justified. 
;. He was cautious about stating the grounds of this belief even to 
, Eliab, having the natural fear of one unaccustomed to business 
I that some other person would get wind of his idea and step into 
,j his Bethesda while he, himself, waited for the troubling of the 
^'' waters. 

. He felt himself quite incompetent to conduct the purchase, 
J. even with Eliab's assistance, and in casting about for some white 
j' man whom they could trust to act as their agent, they could think 
; of no one but Hesden Le Moyne. It was agreed, therefore, that 
J Eliab should broach the matter to him, but he was expressly 
Ij cautioned by Nimbus to give him no hint of the particular 



72 Bricks Without Straw 

reasons which led them to prefer this particular tract or of their 
means of payment, until he had thoroughly sounded him in 
regard to the plan itself. This Eliab did, and that gentleman, 
while approving the plan of buying a plantation, if they were 
able, utterly condemned the idea of purchasing a tract so noto- 
riously worthless, and refused to have anything to do with so 
wild a scheme, Eliab, greatly discouraged, reported this fact to his 
friend and urged the abandonment of the plan. Nimbus, how- 
ever, was stubborn and declared that "if Marse Hesden would 
not act for him he would go to Louisburg and buy it of Marse 
Desmit himself." 

"Dar ain't no use o' talkin', 'Liab," said he. "You an' Marse 
Hesden knows a heap more'n I does 'bout most things; dar ain't 
no doubt 'bout dat an' nobody knows it better'n I does. But what 
Nimbus knows, he knows, an' dat's de eend on't. Nobody don't 
know it any better. Now, I don't know nuffin' 'bout books an' de 
scripter an' sech-like, only what I gits second-hand — no more'n 
you does 'bout sojerin', fer instance. But I tell ye what, 'Liab, I 
does know 'bout terbacker, an' I knows all about it, too. I kin jes' 
gib you an' Marse Hesden, an' a heap mo' jes like you uns, odds 
on dat, an' beat ye all holler ebbery time. What I don't know 
'bout dat ar' crap dar ain't no sort ob use a tryin' to tell me. I got 
what I knows de reg'lar ole-fashioned way, like small-pox, jes by 
'sposure, an' I tell yer 'Liab, hit beats any sort ob 'noculation all 
ter rags. Now, I tell you, 'Liab Hill, dat ar' trac' ob Ian' 'bout dat 
ole Or'nery is jes' de berry place we wants, an' I'm boun' ter hev 
it, ef it takes a leg. Now you heah dat, don't yer?" 

Eliab saw that it was useless for him to combat this determina- 
tion. He knew the ruggedness of his friend's character and had 
long ago learned that he could only be turned from a course, 
once fixed upon in his own mind, by presenting some view of the 
matter which had not occurred to him before. He had great 
confidence in Mr. Le Moyne's judgment — almost as much as in 



' Red Wing 73 

Nimbus', despite his admiration for his herculean comrade — so 

' he induced his friend to promise that nothing more should be 
done about the matter until he could have an opportunity to 
examine the premises, with which he was not as familiar as he 

1 would like to be, before it was altogether decided. To this 

,* Nimbus readily consented, and soon afterwards he borrowed a 
wagon and took Eliab, one pleasant day in the early fall, to spy 
out their new Canaan. When they had driven around and seen as 
much of it as they could well examine from the vehicle. Nimbus 

il drove to a point on the east-and-west road just opposite the 
western part of the pine growth, where a sandy hill sloped 
gradually to the northward and a little spring burst out of it and 
trickled across the road. 

"Dar," he said, waving his hand toward the slope; "dar is whar 
I wants my house, right 'longside ob dat ar spring, wid a good 

(terbacker barn up on de hill dar." 

' "Why, what do yer want ter lib dar fer?" asked the other in 
surprise, as he peered over the side of the wagon, in which he sat 
upon a thick bed of fodder which Nimbus had spread over the 

'bottom for his comfort. 

, "Kase dat ar side-hill am twenty-five acres ob de best terbacker 

.'igroun' in Ho'sford County." 

' "Yer don't say so. Nimbus?" 

i "Dat's jes what I do say, 'Liab, an' dat's de main reason what's 

.made me so stubborn 'bout buyin' dis berry track of Ian'. Pears 

^:ter me it's jes made fer us. It's all good terbacker Ian', most on't 

de berry best. It's easy clar'd off an' easy wukked. De 'backer 
igrowed on dis yer Ian' an' cured wid coal made outen dem ar 

(pines will be jes es yaller ez gold an' as fine ez silk, 'Liab. I 
knows; I'se been a watchin' right smart, an' long ago, when I 

Loused ter pass by here, when dey fust begun ter vally de yaller 
terbacker, I used ter wonder dat some pore white man like Marse 

,.War', dat knowed how ter raise an' cure terbacker, didn't buy de 



74 Bricks Without Straw 

old place an' wuk for demselves, 'stead ob overseein' far some- 
body else. It's quar dey nebber t' ought on't. It allers seemed ter 
me dat I wouldn't ax fer nothin' better." 

"But what yer gwine ter do wid de ole house?" asked Eliab. 

"Wal, Bre'er Liab," said Nimbus with a queer grimace, "I 
kinder 'llowed dat I'd let you hab dat ar ter do wid jes 'bout ez 
yer like." 

"Oh, Bre'er Nimbus, yer don't mean dat now?" 

"Don't I? wal, you jes see ef I don't. I'se gwine ter lib right 
h'yer, an' ef yer don't occupy dat ole Red Wing Or'nery I'm ; 
durned ef it don't rot down. Yer heah dat man? Dar don't 
nobody else lib in it, shuah." 

Eliab was very thoughtful and silent, listening to Nimbus* 
comments and plans until finally, as they sat on the porch of the 
old house eating their "snack," he said, 

"Nimbus, dar's a heap ob cullud folks libbin' jes one way an' 
anudder from dis yer Red Wing cross-roads." 

"Co'se dey is, an' dat's de berry reason I'se sot my heart on yer , 
habbin' a shop right h'yer, Yer shore ter git de wuk ob de whole l 
country roun', an' der's mo' cullud folks right up an' down de ; 
creek an' de ribber h'yer dan ennywhar hereabouts dat I knows 
on." 

"But, Nimbus — " said he, hesitatingly. 

"Yis, 'Liab, I hears ye." 

"Couldn't we hab a church here?" 

"Now yer's talkin'," exclaimed Nimbus. "Swar ter God, it's 
quare I nebber tink ob dat, now. An' you de minister? Now yer is 
talkin', shuah! Why de debble I nebber tink ob dat afo'? Yer see 
dem big pines dar, straight ez a arrer an' nigh 'bout de same size 
from top ter bottom? What yer s'pose dem fer, 'Liab? Dunno? I 
should tink not. House logs fer de church, 'Liab. Make it jes ez 
big ez yer wants. Dar 'tis. Only gib me some few shingles an' a 
flo', an' dar yer hev jes ez good a church ez de 'postles ebber hed 
ter preach in." 



Red Wing 75 

"An' de school, Nimbus?" timidly. 

"Shuah 'nough. Why I nebber tink ob dat afo'? An' you de 

teacher! Now you is talkin', 'Liab, certain shuah! Dat's jes de 

ting, jes what we wants an' hez got ter hev. Plenty o' scholars 
; h'yer-abouts, an' de church fer a school-house an' Bre'er 'Liab fer 
ide teacher! 'Clar fer it, Bre'er 'Liab, you hsz got a head-piece, 

dat's a fac'. Now I nebber tink of all dat togedder. Mout hev 

come bimeby, little to a time, but not all to wonst like, as 'tis wid 
\ you. Lord, how plain I sees it all now! De church an' school- 
ji house up dar on de knoll; Nimbus' house jes about a hundred 
] yards furder on, 'cross de road; an' on de side ob de hill de 

'backer-barn; you a teachin' an' a preachin' an' Nimbus makin' 
' terbacker, an' Gena a-takin' comfort on de porch, an' de young 
^uns gittin' larnin'! Wh-o-o-p! Bre'er 'Liab, yer's a great man, 
I shuah!" 

Nimbus caught him in his strong arms and whirled him about 

in a frenzy of joy. When he sat him down Eliab said quietly: 
H "We must get somebody else to teach for a while. 'Liab don't 
^'know 'nough ter do dat ar. I'll go to school wid de chillen an' 
3 learn 'nough ter do it bimeby. P'raps dis what dey call de 
? 'Bureau' mout start a school here ef you should ax 'em, Nimbus. 

Yer know dey'd be mighty wiUin' ter 'blige a soldier, who'd been 

a fightin' fer 'em, ez you hev." 

"I don't a know about dat ar, Bre'er 'Liab, but leastaways we 

can't do no more'n make de trial, anyhow." 
:': After this visit, Eliab withdrew all opposition, not without 
i doubt, but hoping for the best, and trusting, prayerfully, that his 
)i friend's sanguine expectations might be justified by the result. So 
ijit was determined that Nimbus should make the purchase, if 

:possible, and that the old Ordinary, which had been abandoned as 
ba hostel on the highway to the Eastern market, be made a New 

Inn upon the road which the Freedman must now take, and 
i which should lead to liberty and light. 



IX • On the Way to Jericho 



Colonel Desmit's devotion to the idea that slave property was 
more profitable than any other, and the system by which he had 
counted on almost limitless gain thereby, was not only over- 
thrown by the universal emancipation which attended the issue 
of the war, but certain unlooked-for contingencies placed him 
upon the very verge of bankruptcy. The location of his interests 
in different places, which he had been accustomed, during the 
struggle, to look upon as a most fortunate prevision, resulted 
most disastrously. As the war progressed, it came about that those 
regions which were at first generally regarded as the most secure 
from hostile invasion became the scene of the most devastating 
operations. 

The military foresight of the Confederate leaders long before 
led them to believe that the struggle would be concluded, or 
would at least reach its climax, in the Piedmont region. From the 
coast to the mountains the Confederacy spanned, at this point, 
only two hundred miles. The country was open, accessible from 
three points upon the coast, at which lodgment was early made 
or might have been obtained, and only one flank of the forces 
marching thence toward the heart of the Confederacy could be 
assailed. It was early apprehended by them that armies marching 
from the coast of North Carolina, one column along the course 
of the Cape Fear and another from Newberne, within fair sup- 
porting distance and converging toward the center of the State, 
would constitute the most dangerous movement that could be 
made against the Confederacy, since it would cut it in twain if 
successful; and, in order to defeat it, the Army of Virginia would 
have to be withdrawn from its field of operations and a force 
advancing in its track from the James would be enabled to 
co-operate with the columns previously mentioned. It is instruc- 

76 



On the Way to Jericho 77 

me to note that, upon the other side, the untrained instinct of 
President Lincoln was always turning in the same direction. In 
iperusing the field of operations his finger would always stray to 
ithe eastern coast of North Carolina as the vital point, and no 
ipersuasions could induce him to give up the apparently useless 
jfoothold which we kept there for more than three years without 
material advantage. It was a matter of constant surprise to the 
Confederate military authorities that this course was not adopted, 
and the final result showed the wisdom of their premonition. 
1 Among others. Colonel Desmit had obtained an inkling of 
this idea, and instead of concentrating all his destructible prop- 
erty in the region of his home, where, as it resulted, it would 
ihave been comparatively secure, he pitched upon the "piney- 
iwoods" region to the southeastward, as the place of greatest 
^isafety. 

He had rightly estimated that cotton and naval stores would, 
Ijion account of the rigorous blockade and their limited production 
i in other countries, be the most valuable products to hold when 
lithe period of war should end. With these ideas he had invested 
.largely in both, and in and about a great factory at the falls of a 
.Ichief tributary of the Pedee, he had stored his cotton; and in the 
,heart of that sombre-shadowed stretch of soughing pines which 
lies between the Cape Fear and the Yadkin he had hidden his 
hvast accumulation of pitch, turpentine, and resin. Both were in 
I the very track of Sherman's ruthless legions. First the factory and 
'the thousands of bales carefully placed in store near by were 
^given to the flames. Potestatem Desmit had heard of their dan- 
,(ger, and had ridden post-haste across the rugged region to the 
.(northward in the vain hope that his presence might somehow 
^avert disaster. From the top of a rocky mountain twenty miles 
1 \away he had witnessed the conflagration, and needed not to be 
itold of his loss. Turning his horse's head to the eastward, at a 
[^ country-crossing near at hand, he struck out with unabated reso- 
ilution to reach the depot of his naval stores before the arrival of 



yS Bricks Without Straw 

the troops, in order that he might interpose for their preserva- 
tion. He had quite determined to risk the consequences of capture 
in their behalf, being now fully convinced of the downfall of the 
Confederacy. 

During the ensuing night he arrived at his destination, where 
he found everything in confusion and affright. It was a vast 
collection of most valuable stores. For two years they had been 
accumulating. It was one of the sheet-anchors which the prudent 
and far-seeing Potestatem Desmit had thrown out to windward 
in anticipation of a coming storm. For half a mile along the bank 
of the little stream which was just wide enough to float a loaded 
batteau, the barrels of resin and pitch and turpentine were piled, 
tier upon tier, hundreds and thousands upon thousands of them. 
Potestatem Desmit looked at them and shuddered at the desola- 
tion which a single torch would produce in an instant. He felt 
that the chances were desperate, and he had half a mind to apply 
the torch himself and at least deprive the approaching horde of 
the savage pleasure of destroying his substance. But he had great 
confidence in himself, his own powers of persuasion and diplo- 
macy. He would try them once more, and would not fail to make 
them serve for all they might be worth, to save this hoarded 
treasure. 

It was barely daylight the next morning when he was awak- 
ened by the cry, "The Yanks are coming! " He had but a moment 
to question the frightened messenger, who pressed on, terror- 
stricken, in the very road which he might have known would be | 
the path of the advancing enemy, instead of riding two miles into 
the heart of the boundless pine forest which stretched on either i 
hand, where he would have been as safe from capture as if he I 
had been in the center of the pyramid of Cheops. 

Potestatem Desmit had his carriage geared up, and wentj 
coolly forth to meet the invaders. He had heard much of their j 
savage ferocity, and was by no means ignorant of the danger; 
which he ran in thus going voluntarily into their clutches. Never- j 



On the Way to Jericho 79 

theless he did not falter. He had great reHance in his personal 
presence. So he dressed with care, and arrayed in clean linen and 
a suit of the finest broadcloth, then exceedingly rare in the 
Confederacy, and with his snowy hair and beard, his high hat, his 
hands crossed over a gold-headed cane, and gold-mounted glasses 
upon his nose, he set out upon his mission. The night before he 
had prudently removed from the place every drop of spirits 
except a small demijohn of old peach-brandy, which he put 
under the seat of his carriage, intending therewith to regale the 
highest official whom he should succeed in approaching, even 
though it should be the dreaded Sherman himself. 

He had proceeded perhaps half a mile, when his carriage was 

all at once surrounded by a motley crew of curiously dressed but 

I well-armed ruffians, whose very appearance disgusted and 

: alarmed him. With oaths and threats the lumbering chariot, 

which represented in itself no little of respectability, was stopped. 

The appearance of such a vehicle upon the sandy road of the 

pine woods coming directly toward the advancing column struck 

' the "bummers" with surprise. They made a thousand inquiries of 

' the frightened driver, and were about to remove and appropriate 

the sleek span of carriage-horses when the occupant of the 

carriage, opening the window, thrust out his head, and with a 

face flaming with indignation ordered them to desist, bestowing 

' upon them a volley of epithets, beginning with "rascals" and 

' running as far into the language of abuse as his somewhat heated 

' imagination could carry him. 

' "Hello, Bill," said the bummer who was unfastening the 
\ right-wheeler, as he looked back and saw the red face framed in 
a circlet of white hair and beard. "Just look at this old sunflower, 
1 will you? I guess the old bird must think he commands this 
- brigade. Ha! ha! ha! I say, old fellow, when did you leave the 

ark?" 
' "And was Noah and his family well when you bid 'em good- 
by?" queried another. 



8o Bricks Without Straw 

This levity and ridicule were too much for Colonel P. Desmit 
to endure. He leaned out of the carriage window, and shaking his 
gold-headed cane at the mirthful marauders denounced them in 
language fearful in its impotent wrath. 

"Take me to General Sherman, you rascals! I want to see the 
general!" he yelled over and over again. 

"The hell you do! Well, now, mister, don't you know that the 
General is too nervous to see company today? He's just sent us 
on ahead a bit to say to strangers that he's compelled to refuse all 
visitors to-day. He gits that way sometimes, does 'Old Bill,' so ye 
mustn't think hard of him, at all." 

"Take me to the General, you plundering pirates!" vociferated i 
the enraged Colonel. "I'll see if a country gentleman travelling 
in his own carriage along the highway is to be robbed and abused : 
in this manner!" i 

"Robbed, did he say?" queried one, with the unmistakable ' 
brogue of an Irishman. "Faith, it must be the gintleman has ; 
somethin' very important along wid him in the carriage, that he's 
gittin' so excited about; and its meself that'll not see the gintle- 
man imposed upon, sure." This with a wink at his comrades. 
Then to the occupant of the carriage: "What did yer honor say 
might be yer name, now? It's very partickler the General is about 
insthructin' us ter ax the names of thim that's wantin' an' in- 
throduction to him, ye know?" 

The solemnity of this address half deceived the irate Southron, 
and he answered with dignity, "Desmit — Colonel Potestatem 
Desmit, of Horsford County, sir." 

"Ah, d'ye hear that, b'ys? Faith, it's a kurnel it is ye've been &< 
shtoppin' here upon the highway! Shure it may be he's a goin' to 
the Gineral wid a flag of thruce, belike." 

"I do wish to treat with the General," said Desmit, thinking he'] 
saw a chance to put in a favorable word. 

"An' d'ye hear that, b'ys? Shure the gintleman wants to thratej 



! On the Way to Jericho 8i 

I the Gineral. Faith it'll be right glad the auld b'y'll be of a dhrap 
! of somethin' good down here in the pine woods." 
: "Can I see the General, gentlemen?" asked Desmit, with a 
growing feeling that he had taken the wrong course to accom- 
3 plish his end. The crowd of "bummers" constantly grew larger. 
They were mounted upon horses and mules, jacks and jennets, 
1 and one of them had put a "McClellan saddle" and a gag-bit 
ij upon one of the black polled cattle which abound in that region, 
!1 and which ambled easily and briskly along with his rider's feet 
J just brushing the low "poverty-pines" which grew by the road- 
side. They wore all sorts of clothing. The blue and the gray were 
ii already peacefully intermixed in the garments of most of them. 
J The most grotesque variety prevailed especially in their head- 
31 gear, which culminated in the case of one who wore a long, 
1 barrel-shaped, slatted sun-bonnet made out of spotted calico. 
i They were boisterous and even amusing, had they not been well 
51 armed and apparently without fear or reverence for any authority 
": or individual. For the present, the Irishman was evidently in 
■I command, by virtue of his witty tongue. 

8 "Can ye see the Gineral, Kurnel?" said he, with the utmost 
rj apparent deference; "av coorse ye can, sir, only it'll be necessary 
lit for you to lave your carriage an' the horses and the nagur here in 
X the care of these gintlemen, while I takes ye to the Gineral 
j mesilf." 

'i "Why can I not drive on?" 

fij "Why can't ye dhrive? Is it a Kurnel ye is, an' don't know 
! that? Shure the cavalry an' the arthillery an' the caysons an' one 
si thing an' another of that kind would soon crush a chayriot like 
y that to flinders, ye know." 

"I cannot leave my carriage," said Desmit. 
i "Mein Gott, shust hear him now!" said a voice on the other 
side, which caused Desmit to turn with a start. A bearded 
f German, with a pair of myoptic glasses adding their glare to the 



82 Bricks Without Straw 

peculiar intensity of the short-sighted gaze, had climbed upon the 
opposite wheel during his conversation with Pat, and leaning 
half through the window was scanning carefully the inside of the 
carriage. He had already one hand on the demijohn of peach- 
brandy upon which the owner's hopes so much depended. Protes- 
tatem Desmit was no coward, and his gold-headed cane made the 
acquaintance of the Dutchman's poll before he had time to utter 
a word of protestation. 

It was all over in a minute, then. There was a rush and a 
scramble. The old man was dragged out of his carriage, fighting 
manfully but vainly. Twenty hands laid hold upon him. The 
gold-headed cane vanished; the gold-mounted glasses disap- 
peared; his watch leaped from his pocket, and the chain was soon 
dangling at the fob of one of the still laughing marauders. Then 
one insisted that his hat was unbecoming for a colonel, and a 
battered and dirty infantry cap with a half-obliterated corps 
badge and regimental number was jammed down on his gray 
hairs; he was required to remove his coat, and then another took 
a fancy to his vest. The one who took his coat gave him in 
exchange a very ragged, greasy, and altogether disgusting cavalry 
jacket, much too short, and not large enough to button. The 
carriage was almost torn in pieces in the search for treasure. 
Swords and bayonets were thrust through the panelling; the 
cushions were ripped open, the cover torn off, and every possible 
hiding-place examined. Then thinking it must be about his per- 
son, they compelled him to take off his boots and stockings. In 
their stead a pair of almost soleless shoes were thrown him by 
one who appropriated the boots. 

Meantime the Irishman had distributed the contents of the 
demijohn, after having filled his own canteen. Then there was 
great hilarity. The taste of the "colonel" was loudly applauded; 
his health was drunk, and it was finally decided to move on with 
him in charge. The "bummer" who rode the polled ox had, in the 
mean time, shifted his saddle to one of the carriage-horses, and 



On the Way to Jericho 83 

kindly oflfered the steer to the "colonel." One who had come 
upon foot had already mounted the other horse. The driver 
performed a last service for his master, now pale, trembling, and 
tearful at the insults and atrocities he was called on to undergo, 
by spreading one of the carriage cushions over the animal's back 
and helping the queerly-habited potentate to mount his insignifi- 
cant steed. It was better than marching through the hot sand on 
foot, however. 

When they reached the little hamlet which had grown up 
around his collection of turpentine distilleries they saw a strange 
sight. The road which bore still further to the southward was full 
of blue-coated soldiers, who marched along with the peculiar 
swinging gait which marked the army that "went down to the 
sea." Beyond the low bridge, under a clump of pines which had 
been spared for shade, stood a group of horsemen, one of whom 
read a slip of paper, or rather shouted its contents to the soldiery 
as they passed, while he flourished the paper above his head. 
Instantly the column was in an uproar. Caps were thrown into 
the air, voices grew hoarse with shouting; frantic gesticulation, 
tearful eyes and laughter, yells, inane antics, queer combinations 
of sacrilegious oaths and absurd embraces were everywhere to be 
seen and heard. 

"Who is that?" asked Desmit of the Irishman, near whom he 
had kept, pointing to the leading man of the group under the 
tree. 

"Faith, Kurnel, that is Gineral . Would ye like an 

inthroduction, Kurnel?" 

"Yes, yes," said Desmit impatiently. 

"Thin come wid me, Shure I'll give ye one, an' tell him ye sint 
him a dhrink of auld pache to cilebrate the good news with. 
Come along, thin!" 

Just as they stepped upon the bridge Desmit heard a lank 
Hoosier ask, 

"What is in them bar'ls?" 



84 Bricks Without Straw 

And some one answered, 

"Turpentine." 

"Hooray! " said the first. "A bonfire! " 

"Hurry! hurry!" Desmit cried to his guide. 

"Come on thin, auld gintleman. It's mesilf that'll not go back 
on a man that furnishes a good dhram for so joyful an occasion." 

They dismounted, and, pressing their way through the surging 
mass on the bridge, approached the group under the pines. 

"Gineral," said the Irishman, taking off the silk hat which 
Desmit had worn and waving it in the air; "Gineral, I have the 
honor to inthroduce to ye an' auld gintleman — one av the vera 
furst families — that's come out to mate ye, an' begs that ye'll taste 
jest a dhrap av the finest auld pache that iwer ran over yer 
tongue, jist ter cilebrate this vera joyful occasion." 

He waved his hat toward Desmit, and handed up his canteen 
at once. The act was full of the audacity of his race, but the news 
had overthrown all sense of discipline. The officer even lifted the 
canteen to his lips, and no doubt finding Pat's assertion as to its 
quality to be true, allowed a reasonable quantity of its aromatic 
contents to glide down his throat, and then handed it to one of 
his companions. 

"General! General!" shrieked Desmit in desperation, as he 
rushed forward. 

"What do you want, sir?" said the officer sternly. 

There was a rush, a crackle, and a still louder shout. 

Both turned and saw a tongue of red flame with a black, sooty 
tip leap suddenly skyward. The great mass of naval stores was 
fired, and no power on earth could save a barrel of them now. 
Desmit staggered to the nearest tree, and faint and trembling | 
watched the flame. How it raged! How the barrels burst and the j 
liquid flame poured over the ground and into the river! Still it 
burned! The whole earth seemed aflame! How the black billows 
of heavy smoke poured upward, hiding the day! The wind 



; On the Way to Jericho 85 

shifted and swept the smoke-wave over above the crowding, 
hustling, shouting column. It began to rain, but under the mass 
of heavy smoke the group at the pines stood dry. 

And still, out of the two openings in the dark pines upon the 

t other side of the stream, poured the two blue-clad, steel-crowned 

columns! Still the staff officer shouted the glad tidings, "Lee — 

surrendered — unconditionally!" Still waved aloft the dispatch! 

Still the boundless forests rang with shouts! Still the fierce flame 

raged, and from the column which had gone into the forest 

' beyond came back the solemn chant, which sounded at that 

' moment like the fateful voice of an avenging angel: 

John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave; 
His soul is marching on! 

' One who looked upon the scene thinks of it always when he 
' reads of the last great day — the boundless flame — the fervent 
' heat — the shouts — ^the thousands like the sands of the sea — all 
' are not to be forgotten until the likeness merges into the dread 
\ reality! 

The Irishman touched Desmit as he leaned against the pine. 
"War that yours, misther?" he asked, not unkindly. 
Desmit nodded affirmatively. 

"Here," said the other, extending his canteen. "There's a drink 
left. Take it." 

Desmit took it with a trembling hand, and drained it to the 
": last drop. 

"That's right," said the Irishman sympathetically. "I'm right 

sorry for ye, misther, that I am; but don't ye nivver give up heart. 

- There's more turpentine where that come from, and this thing's 

;' over now. I couldn't find yer bull for ye, mister, but here's a 

mule. Ye'd better jest take him and git away from here before 

this row's over. Nobody'll miss ye now." 

r Two weeks afterward a queerly clad figure rode up to the 



86 Bricks Without Straw 

elegant mansion of Colonel Potestatem Desmit, overlooking the i 
pleasant town of Louisburg in the county of Horsford, and found i 
a party of Federal officers lounging upon his wide porches andi 
making merry after war's alarums! 



13 • Negotiating a Treaty 



Not only did Colonel Desmit lose his cotton and naval stores; 
but the funds which he had invested, with cautious foresight, in' 
the bonds of the State and the issues of its banks, were also made! 
worthless by the result of the war. Contrary to the expectations 
of the most prudent and far-seeing, the bonds issued by the States' 
in rebellion during the period of war, were declared to be attaintj 
with treason, and by the supreme power of the land were forbid- 
den to be paid. In addition to this he found himself what waS' 
properly termed "land-poor." The numerous small plantations! 
which he had acquired in different parts of the country, in 
pursuance of his original and inherited design of acquiring 
wealth by slave-culture, though intrinsically very valuable, were 
just at this time in the highest degree unavailable. All lands had 
depreciated to a considerable extent, but the high price of cottori 
had tempted many Northern settlers and capitalists into that belt 
of country where this staple had been most successfully raised,' 
and their purchases, as well as the continued high price of the 
staple, had kept up the prices of cotton-lands far beyond all 
others. 

Then, too, the lack of ready money throughout the countr)^ 



Negotiating a Treaty 87 

5 and the general indebtedness made an absolute dearth of buyers. 
[ In the four years of war there had been no collections. The courts 
[ had been debarred from judgment and execution. The sheriff had 
been without process, the lawyer without fees, the creditor with- 
out his money. Few indeed had taken advantage of this state of 
affairs to pay debts. Money had been as plenty as the forest leaves 
in autumn, and almost as valueless. The creditor had not desired 
to realize on his securities, and few debtors had cared to relieve 
themselves. There had come to be a sort of general belief that 
when the war ended there would be a jubilee for all debtors — 
that each one would hold what he had, and that a promise to pay 
would no more trouble or make afraid even the most timid soul. 
I So that when the courts came to be unchained and the torrent of 
1 judgments and executions poured forth under their seals, the 
; whole country was flooded with bankruptcy. Almost nobody 
J could pay. A few, by deft use of present advantages, gathered 
) means to discharge their own liabilities and take advantage of 
J the failure of others to do so. Yet they were few indeed. On every 
,5 court-house the advertisements of sale covered the panels of the 
£ door and overflowed upon the walls. Thousands of homesteads, 
{ aye, hundreds of thousands of homes — millions of acres — were 
I sold almost for a song — frequently less than a shilling an acre, 
,j generally less than a dollar. 

ii Colonel Desmit had not been an exception to these rules. He 

i) had not paid the obligations maturing during the war simply 

,, because he knew he could not be compelled to do so. Instead of 

j that, he had invested his surplus in lands, cotton, and naval 

]ii stores. Now the evil day was not far off, as he knew, and he had 

[ little to meet it. Nevertheless he made a brave effort. The 

: M niggedness of the disowned family of Smiths and the chicanery 

, inherited from the gnarly-headed and subtle-minded old judge 

; came to his rescue, and he determined not to fail without a fight. 

He shingled himself with deeds of trust and sales under fraudu- 

pw. lent judgments or friendly liens, to delay if they did not avert 



88 Bricks Without Straw 

calamity. Then he set himself at work to effect sales. He soon 
swallowed his wrath and appealed to the North — the enemy to 
whom he owed all his calamities, as he thought. He sent flaming 
circulars to bleak New England — health-exhibits to the smitten 
of consumption, painting the advantages of climate, soil, and 
society — did all in his power to induce immigrants to come and 
buy, in order that he might beat off poverty and failure and open 
disgrace. He made a brave fight, but it had never occurred to him 
to sell an acre to a colored man when he was accosted by 
Nimbus, who, still wearing some part of his uniform, came over 
to negotiate with him for the purchase of Red Wing. 

All these untoward events had not made the master of 
Knapp-of-Reeds peculiarly amiable, or kindly disposed toward' 
any whom he deemed in the remotest manner responsible for his : 
loss. For two classes he could not find words sufl&cient to express . 
his loathing — namely, Yankees and Secessionists. To the former | 
directly and to the latter indirectly he attributed all his ills. Thai 
colored man he hated as a man, as bitterly as he had before 
highly prized him as a slave. At the outset of the war he had 
been openly blamed for his coolness toward the cause of the 
Confederacy. Then, for a time, he had acquiesced in what was 
done — had "gone with his State," as it was then expressed — and 
still later, when convinced of the hopelessness of the struggle, he 
had advocated peace measures; to save his property at all haz- 
ards, some said; because he was at heart a Unionist, others 
declared. So, he had come to regard himself as well dispose4 
toward the Union, and even had convinced himself that he had 
suffered persecution for righteousness' sake, when, in truth, his 
"Unionism" was only an investment made to avoid loss. 

These things, however, tended to embitter him all the morq 
against all those persons and events in any manner connectec^ 
with his misfortunes. It was in such a mood and under sucl^ 
circumstances, that word was brought to Mr. Desmit in his 



Negotiating a Treaty 89 

private library, that "a nigger" wanted to see him. The servant 
did not know his name, what he wanted, or where he came from. 
She could only say that he had ridden there on a "right peart 
mule" and was a "right smart-looking boy." She was ordered to 
bring him in, and Nimbus stood before his master for the first 
time since he had been sent down the country to work on 
•fortifications intended to prevent the realization of his race's 
long-delayed vision of freedom. He came with his hat in his 
' hand, saying respectfully, 
"How d'ye, Marse Desmit?" 

"Is that you. Nimbus? Get right out of here! I don't want any 
such grand rascal nigger in my house." 

' "But, Marse Desmit," began the colored man, greatly flurried 
'"■by this rude greeting. 
' "I don't want any 'buts.' Damn you, I've had enough of all 

such cattle. What are you here for, anyhow? Why don't you go 
'back to the Yankees that you ran away to? I suppose you want I 
'should feed you, clothe you, support you, as I've been doing for 
^'your lazy wife and children ever since the surrender. I shan't 
'do it a day longer — not a day! D'ye hear? Get off from my land 
"before the sun goes down to-morrow or I'll have the overseer 
"set his dogs on you." 

' "All right," said Nimbus coolly; "jes yer pay my wife what's 
^due her and we'll leave ez soon ez yer please." 
^ "Due her? You damned black rascal, do you stand there and 
'tell me I owe her anything?" 

' Strangely enough, the colored man did not quail. His army life 
'had taught him to stand his ground, even against a white man, 

and he had not yet learned how necessary it was to unlearn the 
Messon of liberty and assume again the role of the slave. The 

white man was astounded. Here was a "sassy nigger" indeed! 

-This was what freedom did for them! 
\f' "Her papers dat you gib her at de hirin', Marse Potem," said 



90 Bricks Without Straw 

Nimbus, "says dat yer shall pay her fo' dollars a month an' 
rations. She's had de rations all reg'lar, Marse Desmit; dat's all 
right, but not a dollar ob de money." 

"You lie, you black rascal!" said Desmit excitedly; "she's 
drawn every cent of it! " 

"Wal," said Nimbus, "ef dat's what yer say, we'll hev ter let de 
'Bureau' settle it." 

"What, sir? You rascal, do you threaten me with the 'Bu- 
reau'?" shouted Desmit, starting toward him in a rage, and 
aiming a blow at him with the heavy walking-stick he carried. 

"Don't do dat, Marse Desmit," cried the colored man; "don't 
do dat! " 

There was a dangerous gleam in his eye, but the white man; 
did not heed the warning. His blow fell not on the colored man's | 
head, but on his upraised arm, and the next moment the cane was, 
wrested from his hands, and the recent slave stood over his 
former master as he lay upon the floor, where he had fallen or^j 
been thrown, and said: 

"Don't yer try dat, Marse Desmit; I won't bar it — dat I won't,| 
from no man, black ner white. I'se been a sojer sence I was aj 
slave, an' ther don't no man hit me a lick jes cos I'm black enny 
mo'. Yer's an' ole man, Marse Desmit, an' yer wu2 a good 'nough 
marster ter me in the ole times, but yer mustn't try ter beat a fresj 
man. I don't want ter hurt yer, but yer mustn't do dat! " 

"Then get out of here instantly," said Desmit, rising and 
pointing toward the door. 

"All right, Marse," said Nimbus, stooping for his hat; " 'tain't 
no use fer ye to be so mad, though. I jes come fer to make a trade* 
wid ye." 

"Get out of here, you damned, treacherous, ungrateful, black 
rascal. I wish every one of your whole race had the small-pox! 
Get out! " 

As Nimbus turned to go, he continued: 

"And get your damned lazy tribe off from my plantatior 



Negotiating a Treaty 91 

before to-morrow night, if you don't want the dogs put on them, 



too! 



"I ain't afeard o' yer dogs," said Nimbus, as he went down the 
I hall, and, mounting his mule, rode away. 

With every step his wrath increased. It was well for Potesta- 

tem Desmit that he was not present to feel the anger of the black 

giant whom he had enraged. Once or twice he turned back, 

'gesticulating fiercely and trembling with rage. Then he seemed 

to think better of it, and, turning his mule into the town a mile 

off his road, he lodged a complaint against his old master, with 

the officer of the "Bureau," and then rode quietly home, satisfied 

to "let de law take its course," as he said. He was glad that there 

^ was a law for him — a law that put him on the level with his old 

master — and meditated gratefully, as he rode home, on what the 

'nation had wrought in his behalf since the time when "Marse 

■Desmit" had sent him along that very road with an order to 

' "Marse Ware" to give him "twenty lashes well laid on." The silly 

fellow thought that thenceforth he was going to have a "white 

'man's chance in life." He did not know that in our free American 

Government, while the Federal power can lawfully and properly 

^ordain and establish the theoretical rights of its citizens, it has no 

; legal power to support and maintain those rights against the 

^encroachment of any of the States, since in those matters the 

I (State is sovereign, and the part is greater than the whole. 



14 * Born of the Storm 



Perhaps there was never any more galling and hated badge of 
defeat imposed upon a conquered people than the "Bureau of 
Freedmen, Refugees, and Abandoned Lands," a branch of the 
Federal executive power which grew out of the necessities of the 
struggle to put down rebellion, and to which, little by little, came 
to be referred very many of those matters which could by no 
means be neglected, but which did not properly fall within the 
purview of any other branch of military administration. It is 
known, in these latter days, simply as the Freedmen's Bureau, 
and thought to have been a terrible engine of oppression and 
terror and infamy, because of the denunciations which the for- 
mer slave-owners heaped upon it, and the usually accepted idea 
that the mismanaged and malodorous Freedmen's Savings Bank 
was, somehow or other, an outgrowth and exponent of this 
institution. The poor thing is dead now, and, like dead humanity^ I 
the good it did has been interred with its bones. It has been 
buried, with curses deep and bitter for its funeral obsequies. Its 
officers have been loaded with infamy. Even its wonderful results 
have been hidden from the sight of man, and its history black 
ened with shame and hate. It is one of the curious indices ofj 
public feeling that the North listened, at first, with good-natured 
indifference to the virulent diatribes of the recently conquered' 
people in regard to this institution; after a time wonder suc- 
ceeded to indifference; until finally, while it was still an active 
branch of the public service, wondering credulity succeeded, and 
its name became synonymous with disgrace; so that now there is 
hardly a corner of the land in which a man can be found brave 
enough to confess that he wore the uniform and performed thti 
duties of an agent of the "Freedmen's Bureau." The thorough 
subserviency of Northern sentiment to the domination of thai 

92 



I Born of the Storm 93 

masterly will which characterized "the South" of the old regime 
was never better illustrated. "Curse me this people!" said the 
Southern Balak — of the Abolitionist first, of the Bureau-Officer 
:next, and then of the Carpet-Bagger. The Northern Balaam 
hemmed and paltered, and then — cursed the children of his loins! 

Of the freedmen, our recent allies in war, the grateful and 
devoted friends of the nation which had opened for them the 
gateway of the future, not one of the whole four millions had a 
word to utter in reproach of this branch of the service, in which 
they were particularly interested. Strangely enough, too, none of 
those Union men of the South, who had been refugees during the 
war or friends of that Union after its close, joined in the com- 
plaints and denunciations which were visited on this institution 
and its agents. Neither did the teachers of colored schools, nor 
(the officers and agents of those charitable and missionary associa- 
jtions of the North, whose especial work and purpose was the 
elevation and enlightenment of the colored man, see fit to unite 
lb that torrent of detraction which swept over the country in 
regard to the "Bureau" and its agents. But then, it may be that 
none of these classes were able to judge truly and impartially of 
nits character and works! They may have been prepossessed in its 
.favor to an extent which prevented a fair and honest determina- 
f cion in regard to it. 

Certain it is that those who stood upon the other side — those 
mho instituted and carried on rebellion, or the greater part of 
ihem, and every one of those who opposed reconstruction, who 
fought to the last moment the enfranchisement of the black; 
ivery one who denied the right of the nation to emancipate the 
[^lave; every one who clamored for the payment of the State debts 
rontracted during the war; all of those who proposed and im- 
posed the famous "black codes," — every one of these classes and 
\^vtty man of each class avowed himself unable to find words to 
■ jxpress the infamy, corruption, and oppression which character- 
zed the administration of that climacteric outrage upon a brave, 



94 Bricks Without Straw 

generous, overwhelmed but unconquered — forgiving but not to 
be forgiven, people. 

They felt themselves to have been in all things utterly inno- 
cent and guileless. The luck of war had been terribly against 
them, they considered, but the right remained with them. They 
were virtuous. Their opponents had not only been the aggressors 
at the outset, but had shown themselves little better than savages 
by the manner in which they had conducted the war; and, to 
crown the infamy of their character, had imposed upon "the 
South" at its close that most nefarious of all detestable forms of 
oppressive degradation, "the Bureau." Their orators grew mag- 
niloquent over its tyrannical oppression; the Southern press over- 
flowed with that marvellous exuberance of diatribe of which they 
are the acknowledged masters — to all of which the complaisant 
North gave a ready and subservient concurrence, until the very | 
name reeked in the public mind with infamous associations and 
degrading ideas. 

A few men tried to stem the torrent. Some who had been in its 
service even dared to insist that they had not thereby rendered 
themselves infamous and unworthy. The nation listened for a 
time with kindly pity to their indignant protests, and then buried i 
the troublesome and persistent clamorers in the silence of calm| 
but considerate disbelief. They were quietly allowed to sink intoj 
the charitable grave of unquestioning oblivion. It was not any| 
personal attaint which befouled their names and blasted their j 
public prospects, but simply the fact that they had obeyed thai 
nation's behest and done a work assigned to them by the coun- 
try's rulers. Thus it came to pass that in one third of the country: 
it was an ineffaceable brand of shame to have been at any timei 
an agent or officer of this Bureau, and throughout the rest of the! 
country it was accounted a fair ground for suspicion. In it all, thai 
conquering element was simply the obedient indicator which 
recorded and proclaimed the sentiment and wish of the con- 
quered. The words of the enemy were always regarded as being 



Born of the Storm 95 

P stamped with the mint-mark of truth and verity, while the 

declarations of our allies accounted so apparently false and spu- 
■i rious as to be unworthy of consideration, even when attested by 
H sworn witnesses and written in blood upon a page of history 
?; tear-blotted and stained with savage deeds. All this was perfectly 
'"natural, however, and arose, almost unavoidably, from the cir- 
'cumstances under which the institution was created and the 
3! duties which it was called upon to discharge. It may not be amiss 
'I to consider again the circumstances under which it came to exist. 
I<! This is how this institution had its origin: As the war to put 
i§down rebellion progressed and our armies advanced farther and 
? farther into the heart of the Confederacy, the most devoted and 
"malignant adherents of the Confederate cause abandoned their 
-1 homes and all that they could not easily take with them, and fled 
'within the Confederate lines. Those white people who were 
'adverse to the Confederate cause, or at least lukewarm in its 

support, spurred by the rigors of conscription and the dangers of 
'proscription and imprisonment, took their lives in their hands, 
i^left their homes, and fled by every available road to the shelter of 

the Federal forces. Those who had no homes — the slaves — either 
- deserted by their owners or fancying they saw in that direction a 
i glimmer of possible freedom, swarmed in flank and rear of every 
'blue-clad column which invaded the Confederacy, by thousands 
"and tens of thousands. They fled as the Israelites did from the 

•bondage of Egypt, with that sort of instinctive terror which has 
win all ages led individuals, peoples, and races to flee from the 
f- scene of oppression. The whites who came to us were called 
: "refugees," and the blacks at first "contrabands," and after Janu- 
Hry I, 1863, "freedmen." Of course they had to be taken care of. 
^'The "refugee" brought bedding with him; the freedman had 
-.nothing to bring. The abandoned lands of the Confederates were, 
i-iin many cases, susceptible of being used to employ and supply 
»those needy classes who came to us for aid and sustenance. It was 
Uo do this that the Freedmen's Bureau was created. 



96 Bricks Without Straw 

Its mission was twofold — to extend the helping hand to the 
needy who without such aid must have perished by disease and 
want, and to reduce the expenses of such charity by the cultiva- 
tion and utilization of abandoned lands. It was both a business 
and a missionary enterprise. This was its work and mission until 
the war ended. Its "agents" were chosen from among the 
wounded veteran officers of our army, or were detached from 
active service by reason of their supposed fitness on account of 
character or attainments. Almost every one of them had won 
honor with the loss of limb or of health; all had the indorsement 
and earnest approval of men high in command of our armies, 
who had personal knowledge of their character and believed in 
their fitness. This renders it all the more remarkable that these 
men should so soon and so universally, as was stoutly alleged and 
weakly believed, have become thieves and vagabonds— corrupt- 
ers of the blacks and oppressors of the whites. It only shows howj 
altogether impossible it is to foresee the consequences of any| 
important social or political movement upon the lives and char- 
acters of those exposed to its influences. 

When the war ended there were four millions of men, womenj 
and children without homes, houses, lands, money, food, knowL 
edge, law, right, family, friends, or possibility for self-support. Al, 
these the Bureau adopted. They constituted a vast family o; 
foundlings, whose care was a most difficult and delicate matter, 
but there was not one among them all who complained of the 
treatment they received. 

It is somewhat strange, too, that the officers of this branch ol 
the service should have all misbehaved in exactly the sam€ 
manner. Their acts of oppression and outrage were always perpej 
trated in defence of some supposed right of a defenceless anci 
friendless race, overwhelmed with poverty — the bondmen of ig; 
norance — who had no money with which to corrupt, no art witl 
which to beguile, and no power with which to overawe thes^ 
representatives of authority. For the first time in the history o 



Born of the Storm 97 

i mankind, the corrupt and unprincipled agents of undefined 
' power became the servants, friends, protectors, agents, and pro- 
j;moters of the poor and weak and the oppressors of the rich, the 
i\ Strong, the learned, and the astute. 

:j| It may be said that this view cannot be true; that thousands of 
Hmen selected from the officers of our citi2en-soldiery by the 
I; unanswerable certificate of disabling wounds and the added pres- 
?;tige of their commander's recommendation, a class of men in 
( physical, intellectual and moral power and attainments far supe- 
irior to the average of the American people — it may be said that 
jasuch could not have become all at once infamously bad; and, if 
;they did suffer such transformation, would have oppressed the 
: blacks at the instigation of the whites, who were willing and able 
"to pay well for such subversion of authority, and not the reverse. 
tfThis would seem to be true, but we are not now dealing with 
iispeculations, but with facts! We know that they did become such 
la pest because at the South they were likened to the plagues of 
c Egypt, and the North reiterated and affirmed this cry and con- 
1 [doled with the victims of the oppression with much show of 
spenitence, and an unappeasable wrath toward the instruments of 
'the iniquity. Thus the voice of the people — that voice which is 
ilbut another form of the voice of God — proclaimed these facts to 
the world, so that they must thenceforth be held indisputable and 
•'true beyond the utmost temerity of scepticism. The facts remain. 
iThe puzzling ti/by, let whosoever will endeavor to elucidate. 

Perhaps the most outrageous and debasing of all the acts of 

:he Bureau, in the eyes of those who love to term themselves "the 

iSouth," was the fact that its officers and agents, first of all, 

pillowed the colored man to be sworn in opposition to and in 

i^Eontradiction of the word of a white man. 

That this should be exasperating and degrading to the South- 

riirn white man was most natural and reasonable. The very cor- 

( jlier-stone of Southern legislation and jurisprudence for more 

i'han a hundred years was based upon this idea: the negro can 



98 Bricks Without Straw 

have no rights, and can testify as to no rights or wrongs, as j 
against a white man. So that the master might take his slave with ii 
him when he committed murder or did any other act in contra- ; 
vention of law or right, and that slave was like the mute eunuch i 
of the seraglio, silent and voiceless before the law. Indeed, the 
law had done for the slave-owner, with infinitely more of mercy : 
and kindness, what the mutilators of the upper Nile were wont 
to do for the keepers of the harems of Cairo and Constantinople 
— provided them with slaves who should see and hear and serve, 
but should never testify of what they saw and knew. To reverse 
this rule, grown ancient and venerable by the practice of genera- 
tions, to open the mouths which had so long been sealed, was 
only less infamous and dangerous than to accord credence to the 
words they might utter. To do both was to "turn back the tide of 
time," indeed, and it passed the power of language to portray the 
anger, disgust, and degradation which it produced in the South- 
ern mind. To be summoned before the officer of the Bureau,; 
confronted with a negro who denied his most solemn averments, 
and was protected in doing so by the officer who, perhaps, 
showed the bias of the oppressor by believing the negro instead; 
of the gentleman, was unquestionably, to the Southerner, the 
most degrading ordeal he could by any possibility be called upon 
to pass through. 

From this it will be understood that Colonel Desmit passed £ 
most uneasy night after Nimbus had left his house. He had beer, .». 
summoned before the Bureau! He had expected it. Hardly hac 
he given way to his petulant anger when he recognized the foil) 
of his course. The demeanor of the colored man had been sc 
"sassy" and aggravating, however, that no one could have re 
sisted his wrath, he was sure. Indeed, now that he came to lool 
back at it, he wondered that he had been so considerate. He wai 
amazed that he had not shot the impudent rascal on the spo 
instead of striking him with his walking-stick, which he was veri 
confident was the worst that could be urged against him. How 



Born of the Storm 99 

: ever, that was enough, for he remembered with horror that, not 
1 long before, this same Bureau officer had actually imprisoned a 
I most respectable and correct man for having whipped a "nigger" 
I at work in his crop, who had been "too sassy" to be tolerated by 
fjany gentleman, 

\\ So it was with much trepidation that the old man went into 
p the town the next morning, secured the services of a lawyer, and 
I prepared for his trial before the "Bureau," Nimbus was inter- 
j cepted as he came into town with his wife, and an attempt made 
^to induce him to withdraw the prosecution, but that high-minded 
li: litigant would hear nothing of the proposed compromise. He had 
pput his hand to the plow and would not look back. He had 
i appealed to the law — "the Bureau" and only "the Bureau" should 
)decide it. So Colonel Desmit and his lawyer asked a few hours' 
Melay and prepared themselves to resist and disprove the charge 
iof assault upon Nimbus. The lawyer once proposed to examine 
jthe papers in the case, but Desmit said that was useless — the boy 
hwas no liar, though they must make him out one if they could. 
IjSo, at the time appointed, with his lawyer and train of witnesses, 
:'he went before "the Bureau," and there met Nimbus and his 
:wife, Lugena. 

) "The Bureau" wore the uniform of a captain of United States 

infantry, and was a man about forty-five years of age, grave and 

berious of look, with an empty sleeve folded decorously over his 

libreast. His calm blue eyes, pale, refined face, and serious air gave 

utiim the appearance of a minister rather than a ruthless oppres- 

(sor, but his reputation for cruelty among certain people was as 

well established as that of Jeffreys. He greeted Mr. Desmit and 

lis attorney with somewhat constrained politeness, and when 

t:hey were seated proceeded to read the complaint, which simply 

i;i:ecited that Colonel Desmit, having employed Lugena, the wife 

jof complainant, at a given rate per month, had failed to make 

payment, and had finally, without cause, ordered her oflf his 

: ^remises. 



loo Bricks Without Straw 

"Is that all?" asked the lawyer. 

"That is all," answered the officer. 

"Has no other complaint been lodged against Colonel Des- 
mit?" 

"None." 

"We cannot — that is — we did not expect this," said the attor- 
ney, and then after a whispered consultation with his client, he 
added, "We are quite willing to make this matter right. We had 
entirely misunderstood the nature of the complaint." 

"Have you any further complaint to make against Colonel 
Desmit?" asked the officer, of Nimbus. 

"No," said that worthy, doubtfully. "He was pretty brash wid 
me, an' 'llowed ter hit me wid a stick; but he didn't — at least not 
ter speak on — so I don't make no 'count ob dat. 'Twas jes disj 
matter ob Lugeny's wuk dat made me bring him h'yer — nuffin' 
else." 

"When did this matter of the stick occur?" asked the officer. 

"On'y jes yeste'day, sah." 

"Where was it?" 

"Up ter Marse Potem's, sah. In his house." 

"How did it happen?" 

"Wal, you see, sah, I went up dar ter see ef I could buy a track 
ob Ian' from him, an' — " 

"What!" exclaimed Desmit, in astonishment. "You didn't say 
a word to me about land." 

"No more I didn't," answered Nimbus, "kase yer didn't gib me' 
no chance ter say a word 'bout it. 'Peared like de fus sight on me 
made yer mad, an' den yer jes feathered away on me, spite ob all 
I could do er say. Yer see, sah," to the officer, "I'd made a bit ob 
money in de wah, an' wanted ter see ef I could buy a bit ob pore 
Ian' ob Marse Desmit — a track jes good fer nothin' on'y fer a 
nigga ter starve on — but afore I could git to dat Marse Desmit 
got so uproarous-like dat I clean fergot what 'twas I cum fer." 

"There was evidently a misunderstanding," said the attorney 



Born of the Storm ioi 

"I should think so," said the ofl&cer, dryly. "You say you have 
no complaint to make about that affair?" he added to Nimbus. 
^ "No," said he; " 'twan't a ting ob any 'count, nohow. I can't 
Imake out what 'twas made Marse Potem so fractious anyhow. I 
(■reckon, as he says, dar must hev ben some mistake about it. Ef 
5 he'll fix up dis matter wid Lugena, I hain't no mo' complaint, an' 
,J'se mighty sorry 'bout dat, kase Marse Desmit hab alius been 
)( mighty kin' ter me — all 'cept dis time an' once afo'." 
IJj "There's the money for the woman," said the attorney, laying 
'jisome bills on the officer's table; "and I may say that my client 
greatly regrets the unfortunate misunderstanding with one of the 
ifbest of his old slaves. He desires me to say that the woman's 
jiservices have been entirely satisfactory, and that she can keep 
fright on under the contract, if she desires." 

- So that was settled. The officer discharged Colonel Desmit, 
commended Nimbus for the sensible view he had taken of the 
quarrel, and the parties gave way for other matters which 
' awaited the officer's attention. 

Ip This would not seem to have been so very oppressive, but 
anything growing out of the war which had resulted so disas- 
trously for him was hateful to Colonel Desmit, and we should 
^inot wonder if his grandchildren told over, with burning cheeks, 
the story of the affront which was offered to their ancestor in 
(haling him before that infamous tribunal, "the Bureau," to an- 
swer a charge preferred by a "nigger." 



1 



15 • To Him and His Heirs Forever 



After leaving the office of "the Bureau," the parties repaired to 
that of the lawyer, and the trade for the land which had been so 
inopportunely forestalled by Colonel Desmit's hasty temper was 
entered upon in earnest. That gentleman's financial condition 
was such as to render the three or four hundred dollars of ready 
money which Nimbus could pay by no means undesirable, while 
the property itself seemed of so little value as to be regarded 
almost as an incumbrance to the plantation of which it was a 
part. Such was its well-established reputation for poverty of soil 
that Desmit had no idea that the purchaser would ever be able to 
meet one of his notes for the balance of the purchase money, and 
he looked forward to resuming the control of the property at no 
distant day, somewhat improved by the betterments which occu- 
pancy and attempted use would compel the purchaser to make. 
He regarded the cash to be paid in hand as just so much money 
accidentally found in his pathway, for which, in no event, was hej 
to render any quid pro quo. But of this he said nothing. It was' 
not his business to look after the interests of a "sassy nigger." In 
fact, he felt that the money was in a sense due to him on account 
of the scurvy trick that Nimbus had played him, in deserting to 
the Yankees after agreeing to look after his "niggers" on the 
breastworks, although, as the event proved, his master would' 
have gained nothing by his remaining. So the former master and 
slave met on the level of barter and sale, and gave and took in' 
the conflict of trade. 

Except the small tract just about the old hostel, which has 
already been mentioned, the plantation, which included Red 
Wing, was descended from an ancestor of the Richards family 
who had come from the North about the close of the Revolu-i 
tion and "entered" an immense tract in this section. It had, howj 

102 



To Him and His Heirs Forever 103 

: ever, passed out of the family by purchase, and about the begin- 
ning of the war of Rebellion a life estate therein was held by its 
• occupant, while the reversion belonged to certain parties in 
Indiana by virtue of the will of a common ancestor. This life- 
wtenant's necessities compelled him to relinquish his estate, which 
pjwas bought by Colonel Desmit, during the second year of the 
j war, together with the fee which he had acquired in the tract 
y belonging to the old Ordinary, not because he wanted the land 
,| about Red Wing, but because the plantation to which it was 
jj attached was a good one, and he could buy it on reasonable terms 
l,for Confederate currency. He expected to treat with the Indiana 
I heirs and obtain their respective interests in the fee, which no 
:,doubt he would have been able to acquire very cheaply but for 
jjithe intervening accident of war, as the life-tenant was yet of 
(imiddle age and the succession consequently of little probable 
J value to living reversioners. This, however, he had not done; 
J but as his deed from the life-tenant was in form an exclusive and 
ijunlimited conveyance, it had been quite forgotten that the will 
I of his grandfather limited it to a life estate. So when Nimbus 
^land his friend and counsellor, Eliab Hill, sought to negotiate the 
;; purchase of Red Wing, no mention was made of that fact; neither 
jjwas it alluded to when they came again to conclude the purchase, 
J, nor when instructions were given to Colonel Desmit's lawyer to 
kiprepare the necessary papers. 

j| The trade was soon brought to an apparently happy conclu- 
r^sion. Nimbus bought two hundred acres at a price of eight 
^hundred dollars, paying one half the price agreed upon in cash, 
and for the balance gave three notes of equal amounts, one 
maturing each year thereafter, and received from Colonel Desmit 
j-la bond for title to the whole tract, with full covenants of 
jjwarranty and seizin. Colonel Desmit accounted the notes of little 
llvalue; Nimbus prized the bond for title above any patent of 
Ijinobility. Before the first note fell due all had been discharged, 
yand the bond for title was exchanged for a deed in fee, duly 



I04 Bricks Without Straw 

executed. So the recent slave, who had but lately been the subject 
of barter and sale, was clothed with the rights of a proprietor. 

According to the former law, the slave was a sort of chattel- 
real. Without being attached to the land, he was transferable 
from one owner to another only by deed or will. In some States 
he descended as realty, in others as personalty, while in others 
still, he constituted a separate kind of heritable estate, which was 
especially provided for in the canons of descent and statutes 
regulating administration. There was even then of record in the 
county of Horsford a deed of sale, bearing the hand and seal of 
P. Desmit, and executed little more than a year previously, 
conveying to one Peyton Winburn "all the right, title, and 
interest of said Desmit, in and to a certain runaway negro boy 
named Nimbus." The said Winburn was a speculator in slaves 
who had long been the agent of Desmit in marketing his human 
crop, and who, in the very last hours of the Confederacy, was 
willing to risk a few dollars on the result. As he well stated it to 
himself, it was only staking one form of loss against another. He 
paid Confederate money for a runaway negro. If the Confederacy 
failed, the negro would be free; but then, too, the money would 
be worthless. So with grim humor he said to himself that he was 
only changing the form of his risk and could not possibly lose by 
the result. Thus, by implication of law, the recent subject of 
transfer by deed was elevated to the dignity of being a party 
thereto. The very instrument of his bondage became thereby the 
sceptre of his power. It was only an incident of freedom, but the 
difference it measured was infinite. 

No wonder the former slave trembled with elation as he 
received this emblem of autonomy, or that there was a look of 
gloom on the face of the former master as he delivered the 
carefully-enrolled deed, made complete by his hand and seal, and 
attested by his attorney. It was the first time the one had felt the, 
dignity of proprietorship, or the other had known the shame of 



A Child of the Hills 105 

fraud. The one thought of the bright future which lay before his 
children, to whom he dedicated Red Wing at that moment in his 

i heart, in terms more solemn than the legal phrases in which 
Potestatem Desmit had guaranteed to them the estate in fee 

^ therein. The other thought of the far-away Indiana reversioners, 
of whose rights none knew aught save himself — himself and 

'"Walter Greer, who had gone away to the wilds of Texas, and 
might never be heard of any more. It was the first time he had 
ever committed a deliberate fraud, and when he handed the 

.Ifreedman the deed and said sadly, "I never expected to come 
down to this," those who heard him thought he meant his low 
estate, and pitied his misfortunes. He smiled meaningly and 
turned hastily away, when Nimbus, forgetting his own elation, 

I"; said, in tones of earnest feeling: 

"I declar, Marse Desmit, I'se sorry fer you — I is dat; an' I 
hopes yer'll come outen dis yer trouble a heap better nor yer's 
lookin' for." 

Then they separated — the one to treasure his apples of 
; Sodom, the other to nourish the memory of his shame. 



16 ■ A Child of the Hills 



y "Come at once; Oscar very low." 

W. This was the dispatch which an awkward telegraph messenger 

:) handed to the principal teacher of "No. 5," one soft September 

day of 1866. He waited upon the rough stone step, while she, 



io6 Bricks Without Straw 

standing in the doorway, read it again and again, or seemed to do 
so, as if she could not make out the import of the few simple 
words it contained. 

"No. 5" was a school-house in one of the townships of Bank- j 
shire County, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In it were |! 
taught the children, within school age, of one of those little j 
hamlets which have crept up the valleys of the White Moun-, 
tains, tolled on and on, year after year, farther and farther up the ; 
little rivulets that dash down the mountain slopes, by the rumble , 
and clatter of newly-erected machinery. | 

These mountain streams are the magic handiwork of thC] 
nymphs and fays who for ages have lain hidden in the springsj 
that burst out into little lakes upon the birch-crowned summits, 
and come rushing and tumbling down the rocky defiles to join 
the waters of the Housatuck. School-house No. 5 was thriftily 
placed on a bit of refractory land just opposite the junction of 
two streams which had their rise in two lakelets miles away from 
each other — one lying under the shadow of Pixey Mountain, and 
the other hidden among the wooded hills of Birket. They were 
called "ponds," but are, in truth, great springs, in whose ic} 
coldness the mountain trout delight. 

Back of the school-house, which, indeed, was half built into it 
was a sharp, rocky hillside; across the road which ran before i 
was a placid pond, bordered on the farther side by a dark fring<, 
of evergreens that lay between it and the wide expanse o 
white-armed birches and flaming maples, now beginning to fee 
the autumn's breath, on the rugged mountain-side above. A littlj 
to the left was the narrow gorge through which one of tl 
streams discharged, its bottom studded with ponds and mills, anJ 
its sharp sides flecked with the little white-painted homes 
well-to-do operatives; to the right and left along the othe 
branch and the course of the united streams, the rumble cj 
water-wheels, the puff of laboring engines, and the groan (l;i 
tortured machinery never ceased. Machine-shops and cotton-faJ 



j A Child of the Hills 107 

!Jtories, bagging-mills and box-mills, and wrapping-mills, and 

sprint-mills, and fine-paper-mills, and even mills for the making 

of those filmy creations of marvellous texture and wonderful 

durability which become the representatives of value in the form 

%i bank-notes, were crowded into the narrow gorges. The water 

* was fouled with chemic combinations from source to mouth. For 

f miles up and down one hardly got a breath of air untainted with 

%he fumes of chemicals. Bales of rags, loads of straw, packages of 

'Iwoody pulp, boxes of ultramarine dye, pipes leading from the 

distant mountain springs, and, above all, the rumble and the 

"groaning of the beating-engines told to every sense that this was 

cone of the great hillside centres of paper-manufacture in New 

'England. The elegant residences of the owners were romantically 

situated on some half-isolated promonotory around which the 

stream sweeps, embowered with maples and begirt with willows 

^at its base; or nestled away in some nook, moss-lined and hem- 

''lock-shaded, which marks where some spring brook bubbles 

'down its brief career to the larger stream; or in some plateau 

^iUpon the other side, backed by a scraggly old orchard, and 

^hidden among great groves of rock-miaples which the careful 

hiusbandman spared a hundred years ago for a "sugar-bush," little 

dreaming that the nabobs of the rushing streams would build 

homesteads beneath their shade. And all along, here and there, 

?iwherever a house could find a foothold or the native ruggedness 

"be forced to yield one lodgment, houses and shops and crowded 

'tenements stood thick. It was a busy and a populous village, full 

hi wealth and not barren of poverty, stretched along the rushing 

•''tributary for more than a mile, and then branching with its 

If^constituent forks up into the mountain gorges. 

In the very centre of this busy whirl of life stood the little 

'ivhite two-story school- house, flanked on one side by the dwell- 

Hag of a mill-owner, and on the other by a boarding-house; and 

ust below it, across the street, a machine-shop, and a little 

•cottage of cased logs, with minute-paned windows, and a stone 



io8 Bricks Without Straw 

chimney which was built before the Revolution by the first 
inhabitant of the little valley, A little to the left of the school- 
house was a great granite boulder, rising almost to its eaves, j 
which had been loosened from the mountain-side two miles up i 
the gorge when the dam at the mouth of the pond gave way 
years before in a freshet, and brought down and left by the 
respectful torrent almost at the threshold of the temple of 
knowledge. 

Such was the scene the Indian summer sun looked down upon, 
while the teacher stood gazing fixedly at the message which she 
held. Curious faces peered out of the windows and through the 
door, which she left ajar when she came into the hall. She took 
no note of this infraction of discipline. 

"Any answer, ma'am?" The messenger-boy shifts his weight 
awkwardly upon the other foot, as he asks, but receives no reply. 

For two years Mollie Ainslie, with her assistants, had dis-j 
pensed the sweets of knowledge at "No. 5," to the children of the 
little hamlet. The hazy morning light revealed a small, lithe 
figure, scarcely taller than the messenger-boy that stood before! 
her; a fair, white face; calm, gray eyes; hair with a glint of 
golden brown, which waved and rippled about a low, broad 
brow, and was gathered in a great shining coil behind; and a 
mouth clear-cut and firm, but now drawn and quivering with deep 
emotion. The comely head was finely poised upon the slender! 
neck, and in the whole figure there was an air of self-reliance and 
power that accorded well with the position which she held. A 
simple gray dress, with a bright ribbon at the throat and a bunch 
of autumn flowers carelessly tucked into the belt which circled 
the trim waist, completed the picture framed in the doorway of 
the white school-house. She stood, with eyes fastened on the 
paper which she held in one hand, while the other pressed i 
pencil-head against her cheek, unmindful of the curious glance: 
that were fixed upon her from within, until the messenger-boy 
had twice repeated his customary question: 



Good-morrow and Farewell 109 

"Any answer, ma'am?" 

She reached forth her hand, slowly and without reply. The boy 
(looked up and saw that she was gazing far beyond him and had a 
: strained, fixed look in her eyes. 

I "Want a blank?" he asked, in a tone of unconscious sympathy, 
Pi She did not answer, but as he put his pad of blanks into her 
it outstretched hand she drew it back and wrote, in a slow and 
i; absent manner, a message in these words: 

I To Captain Oscar Ainslie, Boyleston, Va. 
}\ Coming. 
k MOLLIE 

"Collect?" asked the boy. 

"No!" 

)i She inquired, and paid the charges in the same unheeding way. 
illThe messenger departed with a wistful glance at the dry, pained 
i eyes which heeded him not. With a look of dumb entreaty at the 
>: overhanging mountain and misty, Indian summer sky, and a half 

II perceptible shiver of dread, Mollie Ainslie turned and entered 
1(1 again the school-room. 



17 • Good-morro^v and Fare^vell 



r A week afterward, Mollie Ainslie stood beside the bed of her 
only brother and watched the sharp, short struggle which he 
J made with their hereditary enemy, consumption. Weakened by 
p wounds and exposure, he was but ill-prepared to resist the ad- 
i;vances of the insidious foe, and when she reached his side she 



no Bricks Without Straw 

saw that the hope, even of delay, was gone. So she took her 
place, and with ready hand, brave heart, and steady purpose, 
brightened his pathway to the tomb. 

Oscar and Mollie Ainslie were the only children of a New 
England clergyman whose life had lasted long enough, and 
whose means had been sufficient, with the closest economy, to 
educate them both according to the rigorous standards of the 
region in which they were born. Until the son entered college 
they had studied together, and the sister was almost as well 
prepared for the university course as the brother when they were 
separated. Then she stepped out of the race, and determined, 
though scarcely more than a child, to become herself a bread- 
winner, in order that her father's meager salary might be able to 
meet the drain of her brother's college expenses. She did this not 
only without murmuring, but with actual pleasure. Her ambi- 
tion, which was boundless, centered upon her brother. She identi- 
fied herself with him, and cheerfully gave up every advantage, in 
order that his opportunities might be more complete. To Oscar 
these sacrifices on his sister's part were very galling. He felt the 
wisdom of the course pursued toward him by his family, and was 
compelled to accede in silence to prevent the disappointment 
which his refusal would bring. Yet it was the keenest trial for 
him to think of accepting his sister's earnings, and only thei 
conviction that to do so was the quickest and surest way toi 
relieve her of the burden of self-support, induced him to submit : 
to such an arrangement. 

Hardly had he entered upon his college course when the wan 
of Rebellion came on, and Oscar Ainslie saw in the patriotic! 
excitement and the promise of stirring events a way out of ai 
situation whose fetters were too heavy for him to bear by reason; 
of their very tenderness. He was among the first, therefore, to 
enlist, happy thereby to forestall his sister's determination to 
engage in teaching, for his sake. His father was grieved at thei 
son's abandonment of his projerted career, but his heart was too; 



Good-morrow and Farewell hi 

patriotic to object. So he gave the bright-eyed young soldier his 
, blessing as he bade him good-by, standing there before him, 

strong and trim, in his close-fitting cavalry uniform. He knew 
'that Oscar's heart beat high with hope, and he would not check 
kit, though he felt sure that they looked into each other's eyes for 
cthe last time. When his own were glazing over with the ghastly 
; grave-light, more than two years afterward, they were gladdened 
Si by the announcement which came throbbing along the wires and 

1 made bright the whole printed page from which he read: "Tri- 
al vate Oscar Ainslie, promoted to a Captaincy for gallant conduct 
Ion the field of Gettysburg." Upon this he rallied his fading 
1 energies, and waited for a week upon the very brink of the chill 

5 river, that he might hear, before he crossed over, from the young 
• soldier himself, how this honor was won. When he had learned 
ithis he fell asleep, and not long after, the faithful wife who had 
r shared his toils and sacrifices heard the ceaseless cry of his lonely 
J spirit, and was gathered again to his arms upon the shore where 
'J beauty f adeth not forever. 

i; The little homestead upon the rocky hillside overlooking the 
/.village was all that was left to the brother and sister; but it was 
rmore than the latter could enjoy alone, so she fled away and 
centered upon the vocation in which we found her engaged. 
I Meantime her brother had risen in rank, and at the close of the 
•war had been transferred to the regular army as a reward of 
'.distinguished merit. Then his hereditary foe had laid siege to his 
weakened frame, and a brother officer had telegraphed to the 

6 sister in the Bankshire hills the first warning of the coming end. 
i: It was a month after her arrival at Boyleston, when her 
(brother, overcoming the infatuation which usually attends that 
edisease, saw that the end was near and made provision respecting 
Jit. 

I "Sis," he said, calling her by the pet name of their childhood, 
"what day of the month is it?" 
E "The thirteenth, Oscar — your birthday," she replied briskly. 



112 Bricks Without Straw 

"Don't you see that I have been out and gathered leaves and 
flowers to decorate your room, in honor of the event?" 

Her lap was full of autumn leaves — maple and gum, flaming 
and variegated, brown oak of various shapes and shades, golden 
hickory, the open burrs of the chinquapin, pine cones, and the 
dun scraggly balls of the black-gum, some glowing bunches of 
the flame-bush, with their wealth of bursting red berries, and a 
full-laden branch of the black-haw. 

The bright October sun shone through the open window upon 
her as she arranged them with deft fingers, contrasting the 
various hues with loving skill, and weaving ornaments for differ- 
ent points in the bare room of the little country hotel where her 
brother lay. He watched her awhile in silence, and then said 
sadly, 

"Yes, my last birthday." 

Her lips trembled, and her head drooped lower over her lap, 
but she would not let him see her agitation. So she simply said, 

"Do not say that, Oscar." 

"No," he replied, "I ought not to say so. I should have said, my 
last earthly birthday. Sit closer, Sis, where I can see you better. I 
want to talk to you. 

"Do you know," he continued, as she came and sat upon his 
bedside, spreading her many-hued treasures over the white cover- 
let, "that I meant to have been at home to-day?" 

"And are you not?" she asked cheerfully. "Am I not with 
you?" 

"True, Sis, and you are my home now; but, after all, I did 
want to see the old New England hills once more. One yearns for 
familiar scenes after years of war. I meant to have gone back and 
brought you here, away from the cold winters that sting, and 
bite, and kill. I hoped that, after rest, I might recover strength, 
and that you might here escape the shadow which has fastened 
upon me. 

"Have you seen my horse. Midnight?" he asked, after a fit of 
coughing, followed by a dreamy silence. 



i Good-morrow and Farewell 113 

! "Yes." 

"How do you like him?" 

; "He is a magnificent creature." 

\\ "Would he let you approach him?" 

i "I had no trouble in doing so." 

\ "None? He's very vicious, too. Everybody has had trouble 

|:isvith him. Do you think you could ride him?" 
"I have ridden him every day for two weeks." 
"Ah! that is how you have kept so fresh." Then, after a pause, 
'Do you know how I got him?" 

|-' "I heard that he was captured." 

Ii "Yes, in the very last fight before the surrender at Appomat- 
tox. I was with Sheridan, you know. We were pursuing the 
■etreating columns — had been pressing them hotly ever since the 
oreak at Petersburg — on the rear and on both flanks, fighting, 

(ferrying, and watching all the time. On the last day, when the 

•etreat had become a rout, as it seemed, a stand was made by a 

)ody of cavalry just on the crest of a smoothly-sloping hill. Not 

(inticipating serious resistance, we did not wait for the artillery to 

I :ome up and dislodge them, but deploying a brigade we rode on, 

esting and gay, expecting to see them disperse when we came 

Within range and join the rabble beyond. We were mistaken. 

i^^'ust when we got within easy charging distance, down they came, 

')ell-mell, as dashing a body of dirty veterans as I ever saw. The 

t-ttack was so unexpected that for a time we were swept off our 

; eet and fairly carried backward with surprise. Then we rallied, 

fend there was a sharp, short struggle. The enemy retreated, and 

^ve pressed after them. The man that rode this horse seemed to 

Mave selected me as his mark. He rode straight at me from the 

krst. He was a fine, manly-looking fellow, and our swords were 

-bout the last that were crossed in the struggle. We had a sharp 

■assle for a while. I think he must have been struck by a chance 

hot. At least he was unseated just about the time my own horse 

b/as shot under me. Looking around amid the confusion I saw 

bis horse without a rider. I was in mortal terror of being 



114 Bricks Without Straw 

trampled by the shifting squadrons and did not delay, but sprang 
into the saddle and gave him the spur. When the Confederate 
bugles sounded the retreat I had a terrible struggle to keep him 
from obeying orders and carrying me away into their lines. After 
that, however, I had no trouble with him. But he is not kind to 
strangers, as a rule. I meant to have taken him home to you," he 
added, sadly. "You will have him now, and will prize him for my 
sake, will you not. Sis?" 

"You know, Oscar, that everything you have ever loved or 
used will be held sacred," she answered tearfully. 

"Yes, I know," he rejoined. "Sis, I wish you would make me a 
promise." 

"You know I will." 

"Well, then, do not go back to our old home this winter, nor 
the next, nor — but I will not impose terms upon you. Stay as long 
as you can content yourself in this region. I am afraid for you. I 
know you are stronger and have less of the consumptive taint 
about you than I, but I am afraid. You would have worked for ) 
me when I was in college, and I have worked only for you, since I 
that time. All that I have saved — and I have saved all I could, for ! 
I knew that my time was not long — is yours. I have some money' 
on deposit, some bonds, and a few articles of personal property' 
— among the latter, Midnight. All these are yours. It will leave' 
you comfortable for a time at least. Now, dear, promise that I' 
shall be buried and remain in the cemetery the Government is 
making for the soldiers who fell in those last battles. Somehow, I; 
think it will keep you here, in order that you may be near me, 
and save you from the disease which is devouring my life." 

A week afterward his companions followed, with reversed! 
arms, the funereally-caparisoned Midnight to the grounds of the 
National Cemetery, and fired a salute over a new-made grave. 



Nimbus, taking with him his helpless friend, had appealed: 
soon after his purchase, to the officer of the Bureau for aid ir 



I Good-morrow and Farewell 115 

jterecting a school-house at Red Wing. By him he had been 
.referred to one of those charitable associations, through whose 
(benign agency the great-hearted North poured its free bounty 
jinto the South immediately upon the cessation of strife. 
jy Perhaps there has been no grander thing in our history than 
ithe eager generosity with which the Christian men and women 
r of the North gave and wrought, to bring the boon of knowledge 
i to the recently-enslaved. As the North gave, willingly and freely, 
,,men and millions to save the nation from disruption, so, when 
peace came, it gave other brave men and braver women, and 
J other unstinted millions to strengthen the hands which genera- 
tions of slavery had left feeble and inept. Not only the colored, 
but the white also, were the recipients of this bounty. The Queen 
fCity of the Confederacy, the proud capital of the commonwealth 
^Df Virginia, saw the strange spectacle of her own white children 
gathered, for the first time, into free public schools which were 
-supported by Northern charity, and taught by noble women with 
s\vhom her high-bred Christian dames and dainty maidens would 
ynot deign to associate. The civilization of the North in the very 
^lour of victory threw aside the cartridge-box, and appealed at 
j)nce to the contribution-box to heal the ravages of war. At the 
i,loor of every church throughout the North, the appeal was 
jposted for aid to open the eyes of the blind whose limbs had just 
5een unshackled; and the worshipper, as he gave thanks for his 
•escued land, brought also an offering to aid in curing the 
I Ignorance which slavery had produced. 

j It was the noblest spectacle that Christian civilization has ever 
vitnessed — thousands of schools organized in the country of a 
:i''anquished foe, almost before the smoke of battle had cleared 
way, free to the poorest of her citizens, supported by the charity, 
ind taught by kindly-hearted daughters of a quick-forgiving 
nemy. The instinct of our liberty-loving people taught them that 
i^ight must go with liberty, knowledge with power, to give either 
•ermanence or value. Thousands of white-souled angels of peace. 



ii6 Bricks Without Straw 

the tenderly-reared and highly-cultured daughters of many a I 
Northern home, came into the smitten land to do good to its I 
poorest and weakest. Even to this day, two score of schools and i 
colleges remain, the glorious mementoes of this enlightened ,» 
bounty and Christian magnanimity. 

And how did the white brothers and sisters of these messen- 
gers of a matchless benevolence receive them? Ah, God! how sad 
that history should be compelled to make up so dark a record — 
abuse, contumely, violence! Christian tongues befouled with cal- 
umny! Christian lips blistered with falsehood! Christian hearts 
overflowing with hate! Christian pens reeking with ridicule be- 
cause other Christians sought to do their needy fellows good! No 
wonder that faith grew weak and unbelief ran riot through all 
the land when men looked upon the spectacle! The present may 
excuse, for charity is kind; but the future is inexorable and writes) 
its judgments with a pen hard-nibbed! But let us not anticipate.! 
In thousands of Northern homes still live to testify these devoted 
sisters and daughters, now grown matronly. They are scattered' 
through every state, almost in every hamlet of the North, while 
other thousands have gone, with the sad truth carved deep upon 
their souls, to testify in that court where "the action lies in its 
true nature." 

Nimbus found men even more ready to assist than he and his 
fellows were to be aided. He himself gave the land and the 
timbers; the benevolent association to whom he had appealec 
furnished the other materials required; the colored men gave the 
major part of the labor, and, in less than a year from the time the 
purchase was made, the house was ready for the school, and th( 
old hostelry prepared for the teachers that had been promised. 

So it was that, when Nimbus came to the officer in charge a 
Boyleston and begged that a teacher might be sent to Red Wing 
and met the reply that because of the great demand they hai 
none to send, Mollie Ainslie, hearing of the request, with he 
load of sorrow yet heavy on her lonely heart, said, "Here am 1 



Good-morrow and Farewell 117 

s take me." She thought it a holy work. It was, to her simple heart, 
J a love-offering to the memory of him who had given his life to 
, secure the freedom of the race she was asked to aid in lifting up. 
)- The gentle child felt called of God to do missionary work for a 
(Weak and struggling people. She thought she felt the divine 
J commandment which rested on the Nazarene. She did not stop to 
I consider of the "impropriety" of her course. She did not even 
Lj know that there was any impropriety in it. She thought her heart 
I had heard the trumpet-call of duty, and, like Joan of Arc, though 
i] it took her among camps and dangers, she would not flinch. So 
tj^ Nimbus returned happy; an officer was sent to examine the 
ji location and report. MoUie, mounted upon Midnight, accompa- 
: nied him. Of course, this fact and her unbounded delight at the 
;i quaint beauty of Red Wing was no part of the reason why 

4 Lieutenant Hamilton made a most glowing report on the loca- 
i tion; but it was owing to that report that the officer at the head 
6 of the "Bureau" in that district, the department-commander, and 
if finally the head of the Bureau, General Howard himself, in- 
il dorsed the scheme most warmly and aided it most liberally. So 
i. that soon afterward the building was furnished as a school-house, 

Mollie Ainslie, with Lucy Ellison, an old schoolmate, as her 
assistant, was installed at the old hostlery, and bore sway in the 
j school of three hundred dusky pupils which assembled daily at 
; Red Wing. Midnight was given royal quarters in the old log-sta- 
|ble, which had been re-covered and almost rebuilt for his especial 
]' delectation, the great square stall, with its bed of dry oak leaves, 

5 in which he stood knee-deep, being sufficient to satisfy even Miss 
J Mollie's fastidious demands for the comfort of her petted steed. 
I After a time Eliab Hill, to whose suggestion the whole plan was 
>idue, became also an assistant instructor. 

J Mollie Ainslie did not at all realize the nature of the task she 
phad undertaken, or the burden of infamy and shame which a 
[Christian people would heap upon her because of this kindly- 
y meant work done in their midst! 



1 8 • "Prime Wrappers" 



It was more than a year afterward. Quite a little village hac 
grown up around the church and school-house at Red Wing, 
inhabited by colored men who had been attracted thither by the 
novelty of one of their own members being a proprietor. Encour- 
aged by his example, one and another had bought parcels of his! 
domain, until its size was materially reduced though its value was' 
proportionately enhanced. Those who settled here were mostly 
mechanics — carpenters and masons — who worked here and there 
as they could find employment, a blacksmith who wrought for 
himself, and some farm laborers who dreaded the yearly system 
of hire as too nearly allied to the slave regime, and so worked by 
the day upon the neighboring plantations. One or two boughi 
somewhat larger tracts, intending to imitate the course of Nim 
bus and raise the fine tobacco for which the locality was alread] 
celebrated. All had built cheap log-houses, but their lots wer( 
well fenced and their "truck-patches" clean and thrifty, and tbr 
little hamlet was far from being unattractive, set as it was in th] 
midst of the green forests which belted it about. From thj 
plantations on either side, the children flocked to the school. S] 
that when the registering officer and the sheriff rode into tb| 
settlement, a few days after the registration at Melton, it pn 
sented a thriving and busy spectacle. 

Upon the hillside, back of his house. Nimbus, his wife, an 
two men whom he had employed were engaged in cutting tt 
tobacco which waved — crinkled and rank, with light yellowi;. 
spots showing here and there upon the great leaves — a billow ': 
green in the autumn wind. The new-comers halted and watchd 
the process for a moment as they rode up to the barn, while t; 
sheriff explained to the unfamiliar Northman: 

"This is the first cutting, as it is called. They only take out t; 
ripest this time, and leave the rest for another cutting, a week r 

ii8 I 



"Prime Wrappers" 119 

two later. You see, he goes through there," pointing to Nimbus, 

"and picks out the ripe, yellow-looking plants. Then he sets his 
: knife in at the top of the stalk where it has been broken off to 

prevent its running up to seed, and splits it down almost to the 
, ground; then he cuts the stalk off below the split, and it is ready 
^ to be hung on the thin narrow strips of oak, which you see stuck 
^ up here and there, where the cutting has been done. They 
.generally put from seven to ten plants on a stick, according to 
I the size of the plants, so that the number of sticks makes a very 

accurate measure of the size of the crop, and an experienced hand 
1 can tell within a few pounds the weight of any bulk of tobacco 

by simply counting the sticks." 
^ They rode up to the barn and found it already half full of 

I tobacco. Nimbus came and showed the officer how the sticks 
.twere laid upon beams placed at proper intervals, the split plants 
.hanging tops downward, close together, but not touching each 

other. The upper portions of the barn were first filled and then 
I the lower tiers, until the tobacco hung within two or three feet of 
.'the bottom. The barn itself was made of logs, the interstices 
/Closely chinked and daubed with clay, so as to make it almost 
.air-tight. Around the building on the inside ran a large stone 
J, flue, like a chimney laid on the ground. Outside was a huge pile 
, of wood and a liberal supply of charcoal. Nimbus thus described 
■the process of curing: 

!j "Yer see, Capting, we fills de barn chock full, an' then shets it 
iiup fer a day or two, 'cording ter de weather, sometimes wid a 

|slow fire an' sometimes wid none, till it begins ter sweat — git 

moist, yer know. Den we knows it's in order ter begin de curin', 
|Lan' we puts on mo' fire, an' mo,' an' mo', till de whole house gits 
^jhot an' de leaves begins ter hev a ha'sh, rough feel about de 
^^, edges, an' now an' den one begins ter yaller up. Den we raises de 
jieat jes ez fast ez we kin an' not fire de barn. Some folks uses de 

flues alone an' some de coal alone, but I mostly 'pends on de flues 
I wid a few heaps of coal jes here an' dar 'bout de flo', at sech a 
i^time, kase eberyting 'pends on a even reg'lar heat dat you kin 



120 Bricks Without Straw j 

manage good. Den you keeps watch on it mighty close an' don't 
let it git too hot nor yet fail ter be hot 'nough, but jes so ez ter 
keep it yallerin' up nicely. When de leaves is crisp an' light so 
dat dey rustles roun' in de drafts like dead leaves in the fall, yer 
know, it's cured; an' all yer's got ter du den is ter dry out de 
stems an' stalks. Dat's got ter be done, tho,' kase ef yer leaves 
enny bit ob it green an' sappy-like, fust ting yer knows when it 
comes in order — dat is, gits damp an' soft — de green runs outen 
de stems down inter de leaves an' jes streaks 'em all ober, or 
p'raps it turns de fine yaller leaf a dull greenish brown. So yer's 
got ter keep up yer fire till every stalk an' stem' 11 crack like z 
pipe-stem ez soon ez yer bends 'em up. Den yer lets de fire gc 
down an' opens der do' fer it ter come in order, so't yer kin bull< 
it down." 

"What do you mean by "bulking it down'?" 

"Put it in bulk, like dis yer," said he, pointing to a pile o] 
sticks laid crosswise of each other with the plants still on thei 
and carefully covered to keep out the weather. "Yer see," h| 
continued, "dis answers two pu'poses; fust yer gets yer barJ 
empty an' uses it again. Den de weather don't git in ter signify 
yer know, an' so it don't come inter order any more an' color u 
wid de wet; dat is, 'less yer leaves it too long or de wedder : 
mighty damp." a 

"Oh, he knows," said the sheriff, with a ring of pride in h.j 
voice. "Nimbus was raised in a tobacco-field, and knows as muQfi 
as anybody about it. How did your first barn cure up, Nimbus? 

"Right bright and even, sah," answered the colored man, as 1 
thrust his hand under the boards spread over the bulk near whic 
he stood, and drew out a few leaves, which he smoothed o- 
carefully and handed to his visitors. "I got it down in tol'able ii 
order, too, atter de rain t'odder evenin'. Dunno ez I ebber ha^ 
died a barn thet, take it all round, 'haved better er come o: 
fa'rer in my life — mighty good color an' desp'ut few lugs. Y: 
see, I got it cut jes de right time, an' de weather couldn't hev bi 
better ef I'd hed it made ter order." 



"Prime Wrappers" 121 

I' The sheriff stretched a leaf to its utmost width, held it up to 
the sunshine, crumpled it between his great palms, held it to his 

'face and drew a long breath through it, rubbed the edges be- 
tween thumb and finger, pinched the stem with his thumb-nail 

ptill it broke in half a dozen places, and remarked with enthusi- 
asm, to the Northern man, who stood rubbing and smelling of 
the sample he held, in awkward imitation of one whom he 
recognized as a connoisseur: 

iii "That's prime terbacker, Captain. If it runs like that through 
the bulk and nothing happens to it before it gets to the ware- 
house, it'll bring a dollar a pound, easy. You don't often see such 

'terbacker any year, much less such a one as this has been. Didn't 
it ripen mighty uneven, Nimbus?" 

"Jest about ez it oughter — a little 'arlier on the hill-top an' dry 
places 'long de sides, an' den gradwally down ter de moister 
places. Dar wa'n't much ob dat pesky spotted ripenin' up — jes a 

^ plant h'yer an' anodder dar, all in 'mong de green, but jest about 

' a good barn- full in tollable f a'r patches, an' den anodder comin' 

■right on atter it. I'll hev it full agin an' fire up by to-morrer 
evenin'." 

|; "Do you hang it right up after cutting?" asked the officer. 

!; "Wal, we mout do so. Tain't no hurt ter do it dat er way, only 

it handles better ter let it hang on de sticks a while an' get sorter 

wilted — don't break de leaves off ner mash 'em up so much 

loadin' an' unloadin', yer know," answered Nimbus. 

"How much have you got here?" asked the sheriff, casting his 

'eye over the field; "forty thousand?" 
■ if 

"Wal," said Nimbus, "I made up sixty thousand hills, but I 

^:hed ter re-set some on 'em. I s'pose it'll run somewhere between 

Mty an' sixty thousand." 

' f "A right good crop," said the sheriff. "I doubt if any man in 

[ [:the county has got a better, take it all 'round." 

I "I don't reckon ther's one wukked enny harder fer what he's 

got," said the colored man quietly, 

"No, I'll guarantee ther hain't," said the other, laughing. 



122 Bricks Without Straw 

"Nobody ever accused you of being lazy, Nimbus. They onlyi 
fault you fer being too peart." 

"All 'cause I wants my own, an' wuks fer it, an' axes nobody 
enny odds, but only a fa'r show — a white man's chance ter giti 
along," responded Nimbus, with a touch of defiance in his tone.| 

"Well, well," said the sheriff good-naturedly, "I won't never! 
fault ye for that, but they do say you're the only man, white eB 
black, that ever got ahead of Potem Desmit in a trade yet. How's 
that. Nimbus?" 

"I paid him all he axed," said the colored man, evidently 
flattered by this tribute to his judgment as to the value of Rec 
Wing. "Kase white folks won't see good fine-terbacker Ian' wher 
dey walks ober it, tain't my fault, is it?" 

"No more tain't. Nimbus; but don't yer s'pose yer Mars« 
Potem's smartly worried over it?" 

"La, no, I reckon not. He don't 'pear ter be, enny-how. He wai 
by here when I was curin' up dis barn, an' stopped in an' looke* 
at it, an' axed a power ob questions, an' got Lugena ter bring hin 
out some buttermilk an' a corn pone. Den he went up an' sot a 
hour in de school an' sed ez how he war mighty proud ter see on 
of his ole niggas gittin' on dat er way." 

"Wal, now, that was kind of him, wasn't it?" ? 

"Dat it war, sah, an' hit done us all a power ob good, too. He 
you ebber ben ter de school, Mr. Sheriff? No? wal, yer oughte 
an' you, too, Capting. Dar's a little Yankee woman, Miss Moll 
Ainslie, a runnin' ob it, dat do beat all curration fer managi: 
tings. I'd nebber'd got long so h'yer, not by no means, ez I he 
but fer her advice — her'n an' 'Liab's, gentlemen. Dar she a 
now," he added, as a slight figure, mounted on a powerful blat 
horse, and dressed in a dark riding-habit, with a black plun: 
hanging from a low-crowned felt hat, came out of the woos 
below and cantered easily along the road a hundred yards aw^, 
toward the school-house. The visitors watched her curiously, ail 
expressed a desire to visit the school. Nimbus said that if thr 



"Prime Wrappers" 123 

Iwould walk on slowly he would go by the house and get his coat 
and overtake them before they reached the school-house. 
Ij As they walked along the sheriff said, 

"Did you notice the horse that Yankee schoolmarm rode?" 
"I noticed that it was a very fine one," was the reply. 
bi "I should think it was. I haven't seen a horse in an age that 
; reminded me so much of the one I was telling you about that 
','Hesden Le Moyne used to have. He is fuller and heavier, but if I 
was not afraid of making Hesden mad I would rig him about a 
:: nigger-teacher's riding his horse around the country. Of course 
ait's not the same, but it would be a good joke, only Hesden Le 
5 Moyne is not exactly the man one wants to start a joke on." 

When they arrived at the school-house they found that Mollie 
jiAinslie had changed her habit and was now standing by the desk 
on the platform in the main room, clad in a neat half-mourning 
'dress, well adapted to the work of the school- room, quiet and 
composed, tapping her bell to reduce to order the many-hued 
Lcrowd of scholars of all ages and sizes who were settling into 
Si their places preparatory to the morning roll-call. Nimbus took 
( his visitors up the broad aisle, through an avenue of staring eyes, 
and introduced them awkwardly, but proudly, to the self-col- 
lected little figure on the platform. She in turn presented to them 
iher assistant, Miss Lucy Ellison, a blushing, peach-cheeked little 
);Northern beauty, and Eliab Hill, now advanced to the dignity of 
ijl an assistant also, who sat near her on the platform. The sheriff 
It nodded awkwardly to the ladies, as if doubtful how much defer- 
fCnce it would do to display, said, "How d'ye, 'Liab?" to the 
;[ crippled colored man, laid his saddle-bags on the floor, and took 
!; the chair assigned to him. The Northern man greeted the young 
11 ladies with apparent pleasure and profound respect, shook hands 
;<with the colored man, calling him "Mister" Hill, and before 
7 sitting down looked out on the crowded school with evident 
j; surprise. 
\: Before proceeding with the roll-call Miss Ainslie took the 



12J. Bricks Without Strait 

larcc Bile "^'rlzh liv upon her desk, mi approaching the 

I: 15 c-jr ~^::~ everr —crnine :o read a porticri of the 
i :£er r raver. XTe s'r.ziii be glad if eidier of yoj 






dscs. 

cf ±e sijiclars. and ihen ea;h :: ier aisiira-rs ca.'ed tJie name 
cf dicse aisirned ro their criarre. A s-ele:r::r. :r:~ the Scriptun 

hands, said. Ler ns rrav. Tzz vhcie school knelt, the ladie 
bowed daeir iaeads arm die desk, and Elia.b offered an appropri 
are r raver, in ~-'r.L:'2. dae srranrers - ere ncr forgotten, but wet 

earn kindiv and driv ccnamended :; d.e r;;:vine care. Then thei 
^as an imrr:~rra esaminnricn ci rne scncci. lach of die tead 
ers heard a ria^s rerire. there v ns m :re sir.zir^z, with oth^ 
arreeadie exerrdses, and i: v.ns nccn before the visitors thougl 
cf derartinr. Then thev vrere invited to dine v.ith the lac 
tearhers at tne :id Ordh-arv. and would have dehLned, on ti? 
rr:-and dtat dtev nnast r: en t: die next precinct, but Nimbu 
v.h: had been absent f:r an h:ar. now appeared and brougl 
w:rd that the tabie v.as srread en the rorch under the great oal 
and dtek hirses akeadv cared rcr: sc tiant esrase would evident 
be -as-eiess. The sherin vris verv nneaiv. but the other seemed b 
n: rneani disriensed at the deiav. Hcv.ever. the former recovere 
wi-en he sav,- die abandant rerasn and tcid naanv amusing stori* 
of dde cid hzstei. At ienrth he said: 



"Prime Wrappers" 125 

" "I did not know," replied the sheriif, slightly confused. "Have 
i^ou owned him long?" 
- "Nearly two years, she answered." 

' "Indeed? Somehow I can't get it out of my head that I have 
5een him before, while I am quite sure I never had the pleasure 
'of meeting you until to-day." 

' "Quite likely," she answered; "Nimbus sometimes rides him 
3iito Melton for the mail." 

"No," said he, shaking his head, "that is not it. But, no matter, 
^le's a fine horse, and if you leave here or wish to sell him at any 
t:ime, I hope you will remember and give me a first chance." 
1 He was astonished at the result of his harmless proposal. 
■ "Sir," said the little lady, her gray eyes filling and her voice 
^:hoking with emotion, "that was my only brother's favorite 
Qorse, He rode him in the army, and gave him to me when he 
'lied. No money could buy him under any circiunstances." 
: "Beg pardon," said the sheriff; "I had no idea — I — ah — " 
' To relieve his embarrassment the officer brought forward the 
^ipecial object of his visit by stating that it was thought desirable 
"5:0 establish a voting precinct at Red Wing for the coming 
f election, if a suitable place to hold the election could be found, 
find asked if the school-house could be obtained for that purpose. 
ii\ lively conversation ensued, in which both gentlemen set forth 
(■he advantages of the location to the voters of that section. Miss 
^Bllison seemed to favor it, but the little lady who was in charge 
i<)nly asked questions and looked thoughtful. When at length her 
Opinion was directly asked, she said: 

"I had heard of this proposal through both Mr. Hill and 
i':Slimbus, and I must say I quite agree with the view taken by the 
i:ormer. If it were necessary in order to secure the exercise of their 
•ights by the colored men I would not object; but I cannot see 
■hat it is. It would, of course, direct even more attention to our 
chool, and I do not think the feeling toward us among our 
vhite neighbors is any too kindly now. We have received no 



126 Bricks Without Straw 

serious ill-treatment, it is true, but this is the first time any white! 
person has ventured into our house. I don't think that anything^ 
should be done to excite unnecessary antipathy which might 
interfere with what I must consider the most important element 
of the colored man's development, the opportunity for educa- 
tion." 

"Why, they hold the League meetings there, don't they?" 
asked the sheriff, with a twinkle which questioned her sincerity 

"Certainly," she answered calmly. "At least I gave them leave 
to do so, and have no doubt they do. I consider that necessary 
The colored men should be encouraged to consider and discusi, 
political afi^airs and decide in regard to them from their owr 
standpoint. The League gives them this opportunity. It seems td 
be a quiet and orderly gathering. They are all colored men of th« 
same way of thought, in the main, and it is carried on entirely b) 
them; at least, such is the case here, and I consider the practid 
which it gives in the discussion of public affairs and the conduc 
of public assemblies as a most valuable training for the adult 
who will never have a chance to learn otherwise." 

"I think Nimbus is in favor of having the election here," saii 
Captain Pardee. 

"No doubt," she replied. "So are they all, and they have bee 
very pressing in their impormnity — all except Mr. Hill. They ai 
proud of their school and the building, which is the joint produ( 
of their own labor and the helpfulness of Northern friends, an 
are anxious for every opportunity to display their unexpecte 
prosperity. It is very natural, but I think unwise." 

"Nimbus owns the land, don't he?" asked the sheriff. 

"No. He gave that for school and church purposes, and, exce] 
that they have a right to use it on the Sabbath, it is in my char^ 
as the principal teacher here," she replied, with dignity. 

"And you do not desire the election held here?" asked Capta: 
Pardee. 

"I am sorry to discommode the voters around here, white < 



The Shadow of the Flag 127 

[black, but I would not balance a day's time or a day's walk 
(^against the more important interests of this school to the colored 
I people. They can walk ten miles to vote, if need be, but no 
jexertion of theirs could replace even the building and its furni- 
wture, let alone the school which it shelters." 

"That is very true," said the ofl&cer, thoughtfully. 
I So the project was abandoned, and Melton remained the 
^'nearest polling-place to Red Wing. 

,j As they rode away the two representatives of antipodal 
jthought discussed the scenes they had witnessed that day, which 
rwere equally new to them both, and naturally enough drew from 
jthem entirely different conclusions. The Northern man enthu- 
siastically prophesied the rapid rise and miraculous development 
■of the colored race under the impetus of free schools and free 
: thought. The Southern man only saw in it a prospect of more 
•"sassy niggers," like Nimbus, who was "a good enough nigger, 
rjibut mighty aggravating to the white folks." 

With regard to the teachers, he ventured only this comment: 

"Captain, it's a mighty pity them gals are teaching a nigger 
Oschool. They're too likely for such work — too likely by half." 

The man whom he addressed only gave a low, quiet laugh at 
this remark, which the other found it difficult to interpret. 



9 • The Shadow of the Flag 



. As soon as it became known that the plan of having a 
polling-place at Red Wing had been abandoned, there was an 
.almost universal expression of discontent among the colored 



128 Bricks Without Straw 

people. Never before had the authority or wisdom of the teachers 
been questioned. The purity of their motives and the devotion 
they had displayed in advancing every interest of those to whomi 
they had come as the missionaries of light and freedom, had 
hitherto protected them from all jealousy or suspicion on the 
part of the beneficiaries of their devotion. MoUie Ainslie hac 
readily and naturally fallen into the habit of controlling anc 
directing almost everything about her, simply because she hac 
been accustomed to self-control and self-direction, and was b 
nature quick to decide and resolute to act. Conscious of her owe 
rectitude, and fully realizing the dangers which might result 
from the experiment proposed, she had had no hesitation abouj 
withholding her consent, without which the school-house coulc 
not be used, and had not deemed it necessary to consult th^ 
general wish of the villagers in regard to it. Eliab Hill hac 
approved her action, and she had briefly spoken of it to Nimbu; 
— that was all. 

Now, the people of Red Wing, with Nimbus at their heac 
had set their hearts upon having the election held there. The ide 
was flattering to their importance, a recognition of their man 
hood and political co-ordination which was naturally and pecu 
iarly gratifying. So they murmured and growled, and the discon 
tent grew louder and deeper until, on the second day thereaftei 
Nimbus, with two or three other denizens of Red Wing, cam^ 
with gloomy, sullen faces, to the school-house at the hour fq 
dismissal, to hold an interview with Miss Ainslie on the subjec 
She knew their errand, and received them with that cool reser-v 
which so well became her determined face and slight, ered 
figure. When they had stated their desire, and more than ha, 
indicated their determination to have the election held there i 
all hazards, she said briefly, 

"I have not the slightest objection." 

"Dar now," said Nimbus exultingly; "I 'llowed dar mus' 1 
somethin' wrong 'bout it. They kep' tellin' me that you 'posed 



P 



'[ The Shadow of the Flag 129 

'in' tole de Capting dat it couldn't never be held here wid your 
'consent while you wuz in de school." 
* "So I did." 

'i "You don't say? an' now yer's changed yer mind." 
p "I have not changed my mind at all." 

[i "No? Den what made you say yer hadn't no 'jections, just 
r^ow." 

^, "Because I have not. It is a free country. You say you are 
determined to have the election here. I am fully convinced that it 
Vould do harm. Yet you have a right to provide a place, and 
i'lold it here, if you desire. That I do not question, and shall not 
Pittempt to prevent; only, the day that you determine to do so I 
'^;hall pack up my trunk, ride over to Boyleston, deliver the keys 
';o the superintendent, and let him do as he chooses about the 
natter." 
(n "Yer don't mean ter say yer'd go an' leave us fer good, does 
rer, Miss Mollie?" asked Nimbus in surprise. 
^ "Certainly," was the reply; "when the people have once lost 
Confidence in me, and I am required to give up my own deliber- 
■ite judgment to a whimsical desire for parade, I can do no more 
-ijood here, and will leave at once." 

!' "Sho, now, dat won't do at all — no more it won't," responded 
H>Iimbus. "Ef yer feels dat er way 'bout it, der ain't no mo' use 
pL-talkin'. Der's gwine ter be nary 'lection h'yer ef it really 
iroubles you ladies dat 'er way." 
'i So it was decided, and once again there was peace. 

To compensate themselves for this forbearance, however, it 

7as suggested that the colored voters of Red Wing and vicinity 

hould meet at the church on the morning of election and march 

^1 a body to the polls with music and banners, in order most 

ppropriately and significantly to commemorate their first exer- 

ise of the electoral privilege. To this Miss Ainslie saw no serious 

I bjection, and in order fully to conciliate Nimbus, who might 

rjlet feel himself aggrieved by her previous decision, she tendered 



130 Bricks Without Straw 

him the loan of her horse on the occasion, he having been elected 
marshal. 

From that time until the day of the election there was consid- 
erable excitement. There were a number of political harangues 
made in the neighborhood; the League met several times; the 
colored men appeared anxious and important about the new 
charge committed to their care; the white people were angry,! 
sullen, and depressed. The school at Red Wing went peaceably! 
on, interrupted only by the excitement attendant upon the prepa- 
rations making for the expected parade. 

Almost every night, after work was over, the colored people 
would gather in the little hamlet and march to the music of a 
drum and fife, and under the command of Nimbus, whose serv- 
ice in the army had made him a tolerable proficient in sucB 
tactical movements as pertained to the "school of the company.'' 
Very often, until well past midnight the fife and drum, the wordi 
of command, and the rumble of marching feet could be heard ii 
the little village. The white people in the country around abou 
began to talk about "the niggers arming and drilling," sayin| 
that they intended to "seize the polls on election day;" "rise u| 
and murder the whites;" "burn all the houses along the river;' 
and a thousand other absurd and incredible things which seemed 
to fill the air, to grow and multiply like baleful spores, withou 
apparent cause. As a consequence of this there grew up a feelin; 
of apprehension among the colored men also. They feared ths' 
these things were said simply to make a ready and convenier 
excuse for violence which was to be perpetrated upon them i 
order to prevent the exercise of their legal rights. 

So there were whisperings and apprehension and high resoh 
upon both sides. The colored men, conscious of their own rect 
tude, were either unaware of the real light in which their inn( 
cent parade was regarded by their white neighbors, or el; 
laughed at the feeling as insincere and groundless. The white 
having been for generations firm believers in the imminency 1 



P 



The Shadow of the Flag 131 

yiervile insurrections; devoutly crediting the tradition that the last 
vords of George Washington, words of wisdom and warning, 
,vere, "Never trust a nigger with a gun;" and accustomed to 
, :hafe each other into a fever heat of excitement over any matter 
jj)f public interest, were ready to give credence to any report — all 
che more easily because of its absurdity. On the other hand, the 
piolored people, hearing these rumors, said to themselves that it 
!(fvas simply a device to prevent them from voting, or to give 
c:olor and excuse for a conflict at the polls, 

' There is no doubt that both were partly right and partly 

hvrong. While the parade was at first intended simply as a 

jlisplay, it came to be the occasion of preparation for an expected 

ittack, and as the rumors grew more wild and absurd, so did each 

iiide grow more earnest and sincere. The colored men determined 

exercise their rights openly and boldly, and the white men 

^vere as fully determined that at any exhibition of "impudence" 

)n the part of the "niggers" they would teach them a lesson they 

ovould not soon forget. 

'jif None of this came to the ears of MoUie Ainslie. Nevertheless 

he had a sort of indefinite foreboding of evil to come out of it, 
j.nd wished that she had exerted her influence to prevent the 
ji.)arade. 

\i On the morning of the election day a motley crowd collected 
;:.t an early hour at Red Wing. It was noticeable that every one 
ijiarried a heavy stick, though there was no other show of arms 
jjjiinong them. Some of them, no doubt, had pistols, but there were 
[10 guns in the crowd. They seemed excited and alarmed. A few 

totes from the fife, however, banished all irresolution, and before 
Kight o'clock two hundred men gathered from the country round 
diarched away toward Melton, with a national flag heading the 
r.olumn, in front of which rode Eliab Hill in the carryall belong- 
! ig to Nimbus. With them went a crowd of women and chil- 

ren, numbering as many more, all anxious to witness the first 
jr|xercise of elective power by their race, only just delivered from 



132 Bricks Without Straw 

the bonds of slavery. The fife screeched, the drum rattled; laugh- 
ter and jests and high cheer prevailed among them all. As they 
marched on, now and then a white man rode past them, silent 
and sullen, evidently enraged at the display which was being 
made by the new voters. As they drew nearer to the town it 
became evident that the air was surcharged with trouble. Nimbus 
sent back Miss Ainslie's horse, saying that he was afraid it might 
get hurt. The boy that took it innocently repeated this remark to 
his teacher. 

Within the town there was great excitement. A young mani 
who had passed Red Wing while the men were assembling hadi 
spurred into Melton and reported with great excitement that the 
"niggers" were collecting at the church and Nimbus was givingj 
out arms and ammunition; that they were boasting of what theyi 
would do if any of their votes were refused; that they had all( 
their plans laid to meet negroes from other localities at Melton,i 
get up a row, kill all the white men, burn the town, and theni 
ravish the white women. This formula of horrors is one so famil- 
iar to the Southern tongue that it runs off quite unconsciously 
whenever there is any excitement in the air about the "sass)j 
niggers." It is the "form of sound words," which is never forgoti 
ten. Its effect upon the Southern white man is magical. It moves 
him as the red rag does a mad bull. It takes away all sense anc 
leaves only an abiding desire to kill. 

So this rumor awakened great excitement as it flew from lip tc 
lip. Few questioned its verity, and most of those who heard fel 
bound in conscience to add somewhat to it as they passed it on t( 
the next listener. Each one that came in afterward was ques! 
tioned eagerly upon the hypothesis of a negro insurrection hav 
ing already taken shape. "How many are there?" "Who is at th 
head of it?" "How are they armed?" "What did they say?" wer 
some of the queries which overwhelmed every new comer. ] 
never seemed to strike any one as strange that if the colored me 
had any hostile intent they should let these solitary horseme 



i 



The Shadow of the Flag 133 

v 

Spass them unmolested. The fever spread. Revolvers were flour- 
ttshed and shot-guns loaded; excited crowds gathered here and 
uhere, and nearly everybody in the town sauntered carelessly 
i,>toward the bridge across which Nimbus' gayly-decked column 

I must enter the town. A few young men rode out to reconnoitre, 
bind every few minutes one would come dashing back upon a 
ii^reeking steed, revolver in hand, his mouth full of strange oaths 
itiand his eyes flaming with excitement. 

I I It was one of these that precipitated the result. The flag which 
^waved over the head of the advancing column had been visible 
lifrom the town for some time as now and then it passed over the 
isuccessive ridges to the eastward. The sound of fife and drum had 
become more and more distinct, and a great portion of the white 
-male population, together with those who had come in to the 
i-ilection from the surrounding country, had gathered about the 
;Dridge spanning the swift river which flowed between Melton 

md the hosts of the barbarous and bloodthirsty "niggers" of the 
:Red Wing country. Several of the young scouts had ridden close 
'fejip to the column with tantalizing shouts and insulting gestures 
fiind then dashed back to recount their own audacity; until, just as 
jihe Stars and Stripes began to show over the last gullied hill, one 
^lof them, desirous of outdoing his comrades in bravado, drew his 
mrevolver, flourished it over his head, and cast a shower of insult- 

ng epithets upon the colored pilgrims to the shrine of ballotorial 
bower. He was answered from the dusky crowd with words as 
J:oul as his own. Such insult was not to be endured. Instantly his 
f'Distol was raised, there was a flash, a puff of fleecy smoke, a 
i)i;hriek from amid the crowd. 

tf At once all was confusion. Oaths, cries, pistol-shots, and a 
i'lhower of rocks filled the air as the young man turned and 

■purred back to the town. In a moment the long covered-bridge 

vas manned by a well-armed crowd, while others were seen 
funning toward it. The town was in an uproar. 
J The officers of election had left the polls, and in front of the 






134 Bricks Without Straw 

bridge could be seen Hesden Le Moyne and the burly sheriff 
striving to keep back the angry crowd of white men. On the hill 
the colored men, for a moment struck with amazement, were 
now arming with stones, in dead earnest, uttering loud cries of 
vengeance for one of their number who, wounded and affrighted, 
lay groaning and writhing by the roadside. They outnumbered 
the whites very greatly, but the latter excelled them in arms, in 
training, and in position. Still, such was their exasperation at 
what seemed to them a wanton and unprovoked attack, that they 
were preparing to charge upon the bridge without delay. Nimbus 
especially was frantic with rage. 

"It's the flag!" he shouted; "the damned rebels are firing on 
the flag! " 

He strode back and forth, waving an old cavalry sabre which 
he had brought to mark his importance as marshal of the day, and 
calling on his followers to stand by him and they would "clean 
out the murderous crowd." A few pistol shots which were fired 
from about the bridge but fell far short, added to their excite- 
ment and desperation. ^ 

Just as they were about to rush down the hillside, Mollie 
Ainslie, with a white set face, mounted on her black horse,' 
dashed in front of them, and cried, 

"Halt!" 

Eliab Hill had long been emploring them with upraised hands 
to be calm and listen to reason, but his voice was unheeded or 
unheard in the wild uproar. The sight of the woman, however, 
whom all of them regarded so highly, reining in her restive horse 
and commanding silence, arrested the action of all. But Nimbus, 
now raging like a mad lion, strode up to her, waving his sword; ■, 
and cursing fearfully in his wild wrath, and said hoarsely: H 

"You git out o' de way, Miss Mollie! We all tinks a heap ot ' 
you, but yer hain't got no place h'yer! De time's come for met 
now, an' dis is men's wuk, an' we's gwine ter du it, too! D'yer sec 
dat man dar, a-bleedin' an' a-groanin'? Blood's been shed! We': 



F 



The Shadow of the Flag 135 

peen fired into kase we wuz gwine ter exercise our rights like 
nen under de flag ob our kentry, peaceable, an' quiet, an' 
jisturbin' nobody! 'Fore God, Miss Mollie, ef we's men an' fit ter 
^aev enny rights, we won't stan' dat! We'll hev blood fer blood! 
i3at's what we means! You jes git outen de way!" hf added 
^mperiously. "We'll settle dis yer matter ourselves!" He reached 
)ut his hand as he spoke to take her horse by the bit. 
,, "Stand back!" cried the brave girl. "Don't you touch him, sir!" 
Jjhe urged her horse forward, and Nimbus, awed by her intensity, 
jilowly retreated before her, until she was but a pace or two in 
I ront of the line which stretched across the road. Then leaning 
.'orward, she said, 

"Nimbus, give me your sword! " 
I "What you wants ob dat. Miss Mollie?" he asked in surprise. 
"No matter; hand it to me! " 

He took it by the blade, and held the heavy basket-hilt toward 
^ler. She clasped her small white fingers around the rough, 
i hark-skin handle and raised it over her head as naturally as a 
; reteran leader desiring to command attention, and said: 
fi "Now, Nimbus, and the rest of you, you all know that I am 
/our friend. My brother was a soldier, and fought for your liberty 
j )n this very horse. I have never advised you except for your good, 

nd you know I never will. If it is right and best for you to fight 

low, I will not hinder you. Nay, I will say God-speed, and for 

ught I know fight with you. I am no coward, if I am a woman, 
.^ifou know what I have risked already for your good. Now tell 

ne what has happened, and what this means." 

J There was a cheer at this, and fifty excited voices began the 
jjtory. < 

"Stop! stop!" she cried. "Keep silent, all of you, and let Mr. 

lill tell it alone. He was here in front and saw it all." 
.\ Thereupon she rode up beside the carry-all, which was now in 

he middle of the throng, and listened gravely while Eliab told 
IV he whole story of the march from Red Wing. There was a buzz 



136 Bricks Without Straw 

when he had ended, which she stilled by a word and a wave o 
the hand, and then turning to Nimbus she said: 

"Nimbus, I appoint you to keep order in this crowd until my 
return. Do not let any man, woman, or child move forward 01, 
back, whatever may occur. Do you understand?" 

"Yes, ma'am, I hears; but what you gwine, Miss Mollie?" 

"Into the town." 

"No yer don't. Miss Mollie," said he, stepping before her 
"Dey'li kill you, shore." 

"No matter. I am going. You provoked this affray by you 
foolish love of display, and it must be settled now, or it will be '<. 
matter of constant trouble hereafter." 

"But, Miss Mollie — " 

"Not a word! You have been a soldier and should obey orders' 
Here is your sword. Take it, and keep order here. Examine tha 
poor fellow's wound, and I will go and get a doctor for him." 

She handed Nimbus his sword and turned her horse toward th 
bridge. Then a wail of distress arose from the crowd. The womei 
begged her not to go, with tears. She turned in her saddle, shoo, 
her head, and raised her hand to show her displeasure at thi; 
Then she took a handkerchief from her pocket and half wavin 
it as she proceeded, went toward the bridge. 

"Well, I swear," said the sheriff; "if that are gal ain't comin 
in with a flag of truce. She's pluck, anyhow. You ought to giv 
her three cheers, boys." 

The scene which had been enacted on the hill had been closel 
watched from the bridge and the town, and Mollie's conduct ha 
been pretty well interpreted though her words could not b 
heard. The nerve which she had exhibited had excited universe 
comment, and it needed no second invitation to bring off evei 
hat and send up, in her honor, the shrill yell with which oib« 
soldiers became familiar during the war. ^ 

Recognizing this, her pale face became suffused with blushe 
and she put her handkerchief to her lips to hide their tremulou 



I The shadow of the Flag 137 

aess as she came nearer. She ran her eyes quickly along the line 
of strange faces, until they fell upon the sheriff, by whom stood 
Hesden Le Moyne. She rode straight to them and said, 
' "Oh, Mr. Sheriff— " 

Then she broke down, and dropping the rein on her horse's 

leck, she pressed her handkerchief to her face and wept. Her 

light frame shook with sobs. The men looked at her with 

Surprise and pity. There was even a huskiness in the sheriff's 

iroice as he said, 

I' "Miss Ainslie — I — I beg your pardon, ma'am — but — " 
' She removed the handkerchief, but the tears were still running 
lown her face as she said, glancing round the circle of sympa- 
hizing faces: 

"Do stop this, gentlemen. It's all a mistake. I know it must be 
1 mistake!" 

. "We couldn't help it, ma'am," said one impulsive youth, 
>utting in before the elders had time to speak; "the niggers was 
larching on the town here. Did you suppose we was going to sit 
ii\l and let them burn and ravage without opposition? Oh, we 
aven't got so low as that, if the Yankees did outnumber us. Not 
et!" 

There was a sneering tone in his voice which did more than 

[/mpSLthy could, to restore her equanimity. So she said, with a 

int of a smile on her yet tearful face, 

"The worst thing those poor fellows meant to do, gentlemen, 

as to make a parade over their new-found privileges — march up 

) the polls, vote, and march home again. They are just like a 

rowd of boys over a drum and fife, as you know. They carefully 

deluded from the line all who were not voters, and I had them 

•ranged so that their names would come alphabetically, think- 

g it might be handier for the officers; though I don't know 

jiything about how an election is conducted," she added, with an 

: genuous blush. "It's all my fault, gentlemen! I did not think 

ly trouble could come of it, or I would not have allowed it for a 



138 Bricks Without Straw 

moment. I thought it would be better for them to come in order, 
vote, and go home than to have them scattered about the town 
and perhaps getting into trouble." 

"So 'twould," said the sheriff, "Been a first-rate thing if we'd 
all understood it — first-rate." 

"Oh, I'm so sorry, gentlemen — so sorry, and I'm afraid one 
man is killed. Would one of you be kind enough to go for a 
doctor?" 

"Here is one," said several voices, as a young man stepped' 
forward and raised his hat respectfully. 

"I will go and see him," he said. 

He walked on up the hill alone. 

"Well, ma'am," said the sheriflF, "what do you think should be' 
done now?" 

"If you would only let these people come in and vote, gentle- 
men. They will return at once, and I would answer with my life! 
for their good behavior. I think it was all a misunderstanding." 

"Certainly — certainly, ma'am," said the sheriff. "No doubt 
about it." 

She turned her horse and was about to ride back up the hilli 
but Hesden Le Moyne, taking off his hat, said: 

"Gentlemen, I think we owe a great deal to the bravery of thi^ 
young lady. I have no doubt but all she says is literally true. Yei 
we like to have got into trouble which might have been verj 
serious in its consequences, nay, perhaps has already resultec'' 
seriously. But for her timely arrival, good sense, and courag( 
there would have been more bloodshed; our town would hav( 
been disgraced, troops posted among us, and perhaps lives takei 
in retaliation. Now, considering all this, I move a vote of thank 
to the lady, and that we all pledge ourselves to take no notice 
these people, but let them come in and vote and go out, withou 
interruption. All that are in favor of that say Aye! " 

Every man waved his hat, there was a storm of "ayes," an 



i 



The Shadow of the Flag 139 

J then the old rebel yell again, as, bowing and blushing with 
.pleasure, Mollie turned and rode up the hill. 

There also matters had assumed a more cheerful aspect by 

-reason of her cordial reception at the bridge, and the report of 

jithe surgeon that the man's wound, though quite troublesome, 

■.was by no means serious. She told in a few words what had 

occurred, explained the mistake, reminded them that such a 

display would naturally prove very exasperating to persons situ- 

^ated as the others were, counselled moderation and quietness of 

demeanor, and told them to re-form their ranks and go forward, 

quietly vote, and return. A rousing cheer greeted her words. Eliab 

Hill uttered a devout prayer of thankfulness. Nimbus blunder- 

."ingly said it was all his fault, "though he didn't mean no harm," 

and then suggested that the flag and music should be left there in 

jCharge of some of the boys, which was approved. The wounded 

I man was put into the carry-all by the side of Eliab, and they 

started down the hill. The sheriff, who was waiting at the bridge, 

^railed out for them to bring the flag along and have the music 

istrike up. 

So, with flying colors and rattling drum-beat, the voters of Red 
Wing marched to the polls; the people of Melton looked good- 
[,iiaturedly on; the young hot-bloods joked the dusky citizens, and 
^oestowed extravagant encomiums on the plucky girl who had 
jiaved them from so much threatened trouble; and Mollie Ainslie 
jlrode home with a hot, flushed face, and was put to bed by her 
y:o-laborer, the victim of a raging headache. 

"I declare, Mollie Ainslie," said Lucy, "you are the queerest 
Ijirl I ever saw. I believe you would ride that horse into a den of 
jjions, and then faint because you were not eaten up. I could never 
l^lo what you have done — never in the world — but if I did I 
jvouldn't get sick because it was all over." 



xo • Phantasmagoria 



The day after the election a colored lad rode up to the 
school-house, delivered a letter for Miss Ainslie to one of the 
scholars, and rode away. The letter was written in an even, 
delicate hand, which was yet full of feminine strength, and read 
as follows: 

Miss Ainslie: 

My son Hesden has told me of your courage in preventing whati 
must otherwise have resulted in a most terrible conflict yesterday,' 
and I feel it to be my duty, in behalf of many ladies whose husbands , 
and sons were present on that occasion, to express to you our, 
gratitude. It is seldom that such opportunity presents itself to our: 
sex, and still more seldom that we are able to improve it when 
presented. Your courage in exerting the power you have over the' 
peculiar people toward whom you hold such important relations, 
commands my utmost admiration. It is a matter of the utmost 
congramlation to the good people of Horsford that one of suchi 
courage and prudence occupies the position which you hold. I am 
afraid that the people whom you are teaching can never be made to 
understand and appreciate the position into which they have been 
thrust by the terrible events of the past few years. I am sure,i 
however, that you will do all in your power to secure that result, andi' 
most earnestly pray for your success. Could I leave my house I 
should do myself the pleasure to visit your school and express my 
gratimde in person. As it is, I can only send the good wishes of a 
weak old woman, who, though once a slave-mistress, was most 
sincerely rejoiced at the down-fall of a system she had always 
regarded with regret, despite the humiliation it brought to hei 
countrymen. 

Hester Le Moyne. 

This was the first word of commendation which had beer' 
received from any Southern white woman, and the two lonel) 
teachers were greatly cheered by it. When we come to analyze it: 
sentences there seems to be a sort of patronizing coolness in it 



140 






j Phantasmagoria 141 

hardly calculated to awaken enthusiasm. The young girls who 

had given themselves to what they deemed a missionary work of 

\ peculiar urgency and sacredness, did not stop to read between the 

lines, however, but perused with tears of joy this first epistle from 

pne of their own sex in that strange country where they had been 

Aireated as leprous outcasts by all the families who belonged to 

ii:he race of which they were unconscious ornaments. They 

jfjiumped to the conclusion that a new day was dawning, and that 

llienceforth they would have that companionship and sympathy 

vhich they felt that they deserved from the Christian women by 

vhom they were surrounded. 

|il "What a dear, good old lady she must be!" exclaimed the 
oretty and gushing Lucy Ellison. "I should like to kiss her for 
ihat sweet letter." 

y So they took heart of grace, talked with the old "Mammy" 
ijjvho had charge of their household arrangements about the 
y^entle invalid woman, whom she had served as a slave, and 
^oronounced "jes de bestest woman in de worl', nex' to my young 
[ladies," and then they went on with their work with renewed 
:eal. 

'^ Two other results followed this affair, which tended greatly to 
jelieve the monotony of their lives. A good many gentlemen 
j:alled in to see the school, most of them young men who were 
^inxious for a sight of the brave lady who had it in charge, and 
itthers merely desirous to see the pretty Yankee "nigger teach- 
• •.rs." Many would, no doubt, have become more intimate with 
-hem, but there was something in the terms of respectful equality 
l»n which they associated with their pupils, and especially with 
heir co-worker, Eliab Hill, which they could not abide or under- 
[■itand. The fame of the adventure had extended even beyond the 
fOunty, however, and raised them very greatly in the esteem of 
J, 11 the people. 

W Miss Ainslie soon noticed that the gentlemen she met in her 
rides, instead of passing her with a rude or impudent stare began 



142 Bricks Without Straw 

to greet her with polite respect. Besides this, some of the officers 
of the post at Boyleston, hearing of the gallant conduct of their 
country-woman, rode over to pay their respects, and brought 
back such glowing reports of the beauty and refinement of the 
teachers at Red Wing that the distance could not prevent others 
of the garrison from following their example; and the old 
Ordinary thereafter witnessed many a pleasant gathering under 
the grand old oak which shaded it. Both of the teachers found 
admirers in the gallant company, and it soon became known that 
Lucy Ellison would leave her present situation erelong to 
brighten the life of a young lieutenant. It was rumored, too, that 
another uniform covered the sad heart of a cavalier who asked an 
exchange into a regiment on frontier duty, because Mollie 
Ainslie had failed to respond favorably to his passionate ad- 
dresses. 

So they taught, read, sang, wandered along the wood-paths in 
search of new beauties to charm their Northern eyes; rode 
together whenever Lucy could be persuaded to mount Nimbus' 
mule, which, despite its hybrid nature, was an excellent saddle- 
beast; entertained with unaffected pleasure the officers who came 
to cheer their loneliness; and under the care of their faithful old 
"Mammy" and the oversight of a kind-hearted, serious-faced 
Superintendent, who never missed Red Wing in his monthly; 
rounds, they kept their oddly transformed home bright and' 
cheerful, their hearts light and pure, and their faith clear, daily 
thanking God that they were permitted to do what they thought 
to be His will. 

All of their experiences were not so pleasant. By their own sex 
they were still regarded with that calm, unobserving indifference! 
with which the modern lady treats the sister who stands without 
the pale of reputable society. So far as the "ladies" of Horsfordj 
were concerned, the "nigger teachers" at Red Wing stood on] 
the plane of the courtesan — they were seen but not known: 
The recognition which they received from the gentlemen orj 



I A Child-man 143 

Southern birth had in it not a little of the shame-faced 
:uriosity which characterizes the intercourse of men with women 
whose reputations have been questioned but not entirely de- 
stroyed. They were treated with apparent respect, in the school- 
room, upon the highway, or at the market, by men who would 
i not think of recognizing them when in the company of their 
mothers, sisters, or wives. Such treatment would have been too 
i 'galling to be borne had it not been that the spotless-minded girls 
Were all too pure to realize its significance. 



XI • A Child-man 



Eliab Hill had from the first greatly interested the teachers at 

[Red Wing. The necessities of the school and the desire of the 

.charitable Board having it in charge, to accustom the colored 

people to see those of their own race trusted and advanced, had 

induced them to employ him as an assistant teacher, even before 

jtie was really competent for such service. It is true he was given 

n;harge of only the most rudimentary work, but that fact, while it 

inspired his ambition, showed him also the need of improvement 

and made him a most diligent student. 

Lucy Ellison, as being the most expert in housewifely accom- 

,3lishments, had naturally taken charge of the domestic arrange- 

nents at the Ordinary, and as a consequence had cast a larger 

share of the school duties upon her "superior officer," as she 

jlelighted to call Mollie Ainslie. This division of labor suited well 

}:iie characteristics of both. To plan, direct, and manage the 



144 Bricks Without Straw 

school came as naturally and easily to the stirring Yankee 
"schoolmarm" as did the ordering of their little household to the 
New York farmer's daughter. Among the extra duties thus de- 
volved upon the former was the supervision and direction of the 
studies of Eliab Hill. As he could not consistently with the 
requisite discipline be included in any of the regular classes that 
had been formed, and his affliction prevented him from coming 
to them in the evening for private instruction, she arranged to 
teach him at the school-house after school hours. So that every 
day she remained after the school was dismissed to give him an 
hour's instruction. His careful attention and rapid progress amply 
repaid her for this sacrifice, and she looked forward with much 
pleasure to the time when, after her departure, he should be able 
to conduct the school with credit to himself and profit to his 
fellows. 

Then, for the first time, she realized how great is the momen- 
tum which centuries of intelligence and freedom give to the 
mind of the learner — how unconscious is the acquisition of the 
great bulk of that knowledge which goes to make up the Cauca- 
sian manhood of the nineteenth century. 

Eliab's desire to acquire was insatiable, his application was j 
tireless, but what he achieved seemed always to lack a certain j 
flavor of completeness. It was without that substratum of general 
intelligence which the free white student has partly inherited and 
partly acquired by observation and experience, without the labor I 
or the consciousness of study. The whole world of life, business, 
society, was a sealed book to him, which no other hand might 
open for him; while the field of literature was but a bright 
tangled thicket before him. 

That unconscious familiarity with the past which is as the 
small-change of daily thought to us was a strange currency to his 
mind. He had, indeed, the key to the value of each piece, and 
could, with difficulty, determine its power when used by another, 
but he did not give or receive the currency with instinctive 



A Child-man 145 

ireadiness. Two things had made him clearly the intellectual 
Jiuperior of his fellows — the advantages of his early years by 
divhich he learned to read, and the habit of meditation which the 
i(;olitude of his stricken life induced. This had made him a 
ihinker, a philosopher far more profound than his general attain- 
jnents would naturally produce. With the super-sensitiveness 
i(vhich always characterizes the afflicted, also, he had become a 
i-most acute and subtle observer of the human countenance, and 
nj'ead its infinite variety of expression with ease and certainty. In 
iiiwo things he might be said to be profoundly versed — the spirit 
hi the Scriptures, and the workings of the human heart. With 
regard to these his powers of expression were commensurate with 
lis knowledge. The Psalms of David were more comprehensible 
|30 him than the simplest formulas of arithmetic. 
i'^ Mollie Ainslie was not unfrequently amazed at this inequality 
bf nature in her favorite pupil. On one side he seemed a full- 
]jrown man of grand proportions; on the other, a pigmy-child. 
|)he had heard him pour forth torrents of eloquence on the 
i^jSabbath, and felt the force of a nature exceptionally rich and 
trong in its conception of religious truths and human needs, 
i)nly to find him on the morrow floundering hopelessly in the 
inire of rudimentary science, or getting, by repeated perusals, but 
:.n imperfect idea of some author's words, which it seemed to her 
lie ought to have grasped at a glance. 

}(f He had always been a man of thought, and now for two years 
!;.e had been studying after the manner of the schools, and his 
jasks were yet but rudimentary. It is true, he had read much and 
jliad learned not a little in a thousand directions which he did not 
1 'ppreciate, but yet he was discouraged and despondent, and it is 
ho wonder that he was so. The mountain which stood in his 
iathway could not be climbed over nor passed by, but pebble by 
iebble and grain by grain must be removed, until a broad, 
imooth highway showed instead. And all this he must do before 
pe could comprehend the works of those writers whose pages 



146 Bricks Without Straw 

glow with light to our eyes from the very first. He read and 
re-read these, and groped his way to their meaning with doubt ^ 
and difficulty. 

Being a woman, Mollie Ainslie was not speculative. She could 
not solve this problem of strength and weakness. In power of 
thought, breadth of reasoning, and keenness of analysis she felt 
that he was her master; in knowledge — the power of acquiring 
and using scientific facts — she could but laugh at his weakness. It 
puzzled her. She wondered at it; but she had never sought to 
assign a reason for it. It remained for the learner himself to do 
this. One day, after weeks of despondency, he changed places 
with his teacher during the hour devoted to his lessons, and 
taught her why it was that he, Eliab Hill, with all his desire to 
learn and his ceaseless application to his tasks, yet made so little 
progress in the acquisition of knowledge. 

"It ain't so much the words. Miss Mollie," he said, as he threw 
down a book in which he had asked her to explain some passage 
she had never read before, but the meaning of which came to her 
at a glance — "ix. ain't so much the words as it is the ideas that 
trouble me. These men who write seem to think and feel differ- j 
ently from those I have known. I can learn the words, but when 
I have them all right I am by no means sure that I know just 
what they mean." ■ 

"Why, you must," said the positive little Yankee woman; 
"when one has the words and knows the meaning of all of them, 
he cannot help knowing what the writer means." 

"Perhaps I do not put it as I should," said he sadly. "What I 1 
want to say is, that there are thoughts and bearings that I can 1 
never gather from books alone. They come to you, Miss Ainslie, 
and to those like you, from those who were before you in the j 
world, and from things about you. It is the part of knowledge t 
that can't be put into books. Now I have none of that. My people 
cannot give it to me. I catch a sight of it here and there. Now 



I 



A Child-man 147 

ind then, a conversation I heard years ago between some white 

nen will come up and make plain something that I am puzzling 

)ver, but it is not easy for me to learn." 

\ "I do not think I understand you," she replied; "but if I do, I 
jW sure you are mistaken. How can you know the meanings of 

vords, and yet not apprehend the thought conveyed?" 
'' "I do not know how" he replied. "I only know that while 

hought seems to come from the printed page to your mind like a 
'lash of light, to mine it only comes with difficulty and after 

ciany readings, though I may know every word. For instance," he 

ontinued, taking up a volume of Tennyson which lay upon her 
'able, "take any passage. Here is one: 'Tears, idle tears, I know 

not what they mean!' I have no doubt that brings a distinct idea 

your mind." 

"Yes," she replied, hesitatingly; "I never thought of it before, 
":>ut I think it does." 

F "Well, it does not to mine. I cannot make out what is meant 
i ty "idle' tears, nor whether the author means to say that he does 
,iot know what 'tears' mean, or only 'idle' tears, or whether he 
Ices not understand such a display of grief because it is idle." 
y. "Might he not have meant any or all of these?" she asked. 
Ijl' "That is it," he replied. "I want to know what he did mean. Of 
i lourse, if I knew all about his life and ways, and the like, I could 
ill pretty fully his meaning. You know them because his 
boughts are your thoughts, his life has been your life. You 
iielong to the same race and class. I am cut off from this, and can 
'nly stumble slowly along the path of knowledge." 

1 Thus the simple-minded colored man, taught to meditate by 
'tie solitude which his affliction enforced upon him, speculated in 

,£gard to the leges non script ce which control the action of the 

luman mind and condition its progress. 

^ "What has put you in this strange mood, Eliab?" asked the 
;acher wonderingly. 



148 Bricks Without Straw 

His face flushed, and the mobile mouth twitched with emo- 
tion as he glanced earnestly toward her, and then, Vv^ith an air of 
sudden resolution, said: 

"Well, you see, that matter of the election — you took it all in 
in a minute, when the horse came back. You knew the white 
folks would feel aggravated by that procession and there would 
be trouble. Now, I never thought of that. I just thought it was 
nice to be free, and have our own music and march under that 
dear old flag to do the work of free men and citizens. That was 
all." 

"But Nimbus thought of it, and that was why he sent back the 
horse," she answered. 

"Not at all. He only thought they might pester the horse to 
plague him, and the horse might get away and be hurt. We 
didn't, none of us, think what the white folks would feel, because 
we didn't know. You did." 

"But why should this affect you?" 

"Just because it shows that education is something more than I 
had thought — something so large and difficult that one of my 
age, raised as I have been, can only get a taste of it at the best." 

"Well, what then? You are not discouraged?" 

"Not for myself — no. The pleasure of learning is reward 
enough to me. But my people. Miss MoUie, I must think of them. ' 
I am only a poor withered branch. They are the straight young' 
tree. I must think of them and not of Eliab. You have taught me ' 
— this affair, everything, teaches me — that they can only be made 
free by knowledge. I begin to see that the law can only give us 
an opportunity to make ourselves freemen. Liberty must be 
earned; it cannot be given." 

"That is very true," said the practical girl, whose mind recog- 
nized at once the fact which she had never formulated to herself. 
But as she looked into his face, working with intense feeling and 
so lighted with the glory of a noble purpose as to make her 
forget the stricken frame to which it was chained, she was 



A Child-man 149 

jouzzled at what seemed inconsequence in his words. So she 
, idded, wonderingly, "But I don't see why this should depress you. 
Only think how much you have done toward the end you have in 
/iew. Just think what you have accomplished — ^what strides you 
ujiave made toward a full and complete manhood. You ought to 
\pe proud rather than discouraged." 

: "Ah!" said he, "that has been for myself, Miss MoUie, not for 
sfny people. What am I to my race? Aye," he continued, with a 
;flance at his withered limbs, "to the least one of them not — 
liot — " 

[j He covered his face with his hands and bowed his head in the 
: elf-abasement which hopeless affliction so often brings. 

"Eliab," said the teacher soothingly, as if her pupil were a 
ihild instead of a man older than herself, "you should not give 
L^ay to such thoughts. You should rise above them, and by using 
he powers you have, become an honor to your race." 

"No, Miss Mollie," he replied, with a sigh, as he raised his 

;,iead and gazed into her face earnestly. "There ain't nothing in 

jhis world for me to look forward to only to help my people. I 

m only the dust on the Lord's chariot-wheels — only the dust, 

^hich must be brushed out of the way in order that their glory 

jjQay shine forth. And that," he continued impetuously, paying no 

ttention to her gesture of remonstrance, "is what I wanted to 

..peak to you about this evening. It is hard to say, but I must say 

'\^. — must say it now. I have been taking too much of your time 

IJnd attention, Miss Mollie." 

i, "I am sure, Mr. Hill — " she began, in some confusion. 
'' "Yes, I have," he went on impetuously, while his face flushed 
lOtly. "It is the young and strong only who can enter into the 
;,>anaan the Lord has put before our people. I thought for a while 
^liiat we were just standing on the banks of Jordan — that the 
promised land was right over yon, and the waters piled up like a 
ij^all, so that even poor weak 'Liab might cross over. But I see 
blainer now. We're only just past the Red Sea, just coming into 



150 Bricks Without Straw 

the wilderness, and if I can only get a glimpse from Horeb, wi 
my old eyes by and by, 'Liab'll be satisfied. It'll be enough, ar 
more'n enough, for him. He can only help the young ones — th 
lambs of the flock — a little, mighty little, p'raps, but it's all ther 
is for him to do." 

"Why, Eliab — " began the astonished teacher again. 

"Don't! don't! Miss MoUie, if you please," he cried, with 
look of pain. "I'se done tried — I hez, Miss MoUie. God onl 
knows how I'se tried! But it ain't no use — no use," he continue< 
with a fierce gesture, and relapsing unconsciously into th 
rougher dialect that he had been training himself to avoid, 
can't do it, an' there's no use a-tryin'. There ain't nothin' good fc 
me in this worl' — not in this worl'. It's hard to give it up, Mii 
Mollie — harder'n you'll ever dream; but I hain't blind. I knov 
the brand is on me. It's on my tongue now, that forgets all ^^( 
learned jes ez soon ez the time of trial comes." 

He seemed wild with excitement as he leaned forward on tl 
table toward her, and accompanied his words with that eloquen(j 
of gesticulation which only the hands that are tied to crippl^ 
forms acquire. He paused suddenly, bowed his head upon h 
crossed arms, and his frame shook with sobs. She rose, and wou 
have come around the table to him. Raising his head quickly, 1^; 
cried almost fiercely: 

"Don't! don't! don't come nigh me. Miss Mollie! I'm going 
do a hard thing, almost too hard for me. I'm going to get off tl 
chariot-wheel — out of the light of the glory — out of the way 
the young and the strong! Them that's got to fight the Lor(> 
battles must have the training, and not them that's bound to f;l 
in the wilderness. The time is precious — precious, and must nt 
be wasted. You can't afford to spend so much of it on me! T; 
Lord can't afford ter hev ye. Miss Mollie! I must step aside, s' 
I'se gwine ter do it now. If yer's enny time an' strength ter sp;' 
more'n yer givin' day by day in the school, I want yer should gi 



A Child-man 151 

it to — to — Winnie an' 'Thusa — they're bright girls, that have 

' studied hard, and are young and strong. It is through such as 

': them that we must come up — our people, I mean. I want you to 

; give them my hour, Miss Mollie — my hour! Don't say you won't 

do it!" he cried, seeing a gesture of dissent. "Don't say it! You 

must do it! Promise me, Miss Mollie — for my sake! for — promise 

me — now — quick! afore I gets too weak to ask it! " 

' "Why, certainly, Eliab," she said, in amazement, while she 

^ half shrank from him as if in terror. "I will do it if you desire it 

^ so much. But you should not gtt so excited. Calm yourself! I am 

' sure I don't see why you should take such a course; but, as you 

■ say, they are two bright girls and will make good teachers, which 

|i are much needed." 

1 "Thank God! thank God!" cried the cripple, as his head fell 
\ again upon his arms. After a moment he half raised it and said, 
I weakly, 

IP "Will you please call Nimbus, Miss Mollie? I must go home 
^ now. And please. Miss Mollie, don't think hard of 'Liab — don't, 
'^' Miss Mollie," he said humbly. 

: "Why should I?" she asked in surprise. "You have acted 
'•''nobly, though I cannot think you have done wisely. You are 
'j{ nervous now. You may think differently hereafter. If you do, you 
Ijl have only to say so. I will call Nimbus. Good-by! " 
'I She took her hat and gloves and went down the aisle. Happen- 
»r'ing to turn near the door to replace a book her dress had brushed 
'ilfrom a desk, she saw him gazing after her with a look that 
«' haunted her memory long afterward. 

i»| As the door closed behind her he slid from his chair and 
ml I bowed his head upon it, crying out in a voice of tearful agony, 
r^r'Thank God! thank God!" again and again, while his unfinished 
iilrform shook with hysteric sobs. 

^\ "And she said I was not wise!" he half laughed, as the tears 
I'^ran down his face and he resumed his invocation of thankfulness. 



152 Bricks Without Straw 

Thus Nimbus found him and carried him home with his wontec 
tenderness, soothing him like a babe, and wondering what hac 
occurred to discompose his usually sedate and cheerful friend. 

"I declare, Lucy," said Mollie Ainslie that evening, to he 
co-worker, over their cosy tea, "I don't believe I shall ever get t( 
understand these people. There is that Eliab Hill, who wa 
getting along so nicely, has concluded to give up his studies 
believe he is half crazy anyhow. He raved about it, and glared a' 
me so that I was half frightened out of my wits. I wonder why i 
is that cripples are always so queer, anyhow?" 

She would have been still more amazed if she had known thai 
from that day Eliab Hill devoted himself to his studies with : 
redoubled energy, which more than made up for the loss of h 
teacher's aid. Had she herself been less a child she would hav 
seen that he whom she had treated as such was, in truth, a ma 
of rare strength. 



1.7. ' How the Fallow Was Seeded 



The time had come when the influences so long at work, tl; 
seed which the past had sown in the minds and hearts of rac(, 
must at length bear fruit. The period of actual reconstruction h;l 
passed, and independent, self-regulating States had taken t; 
place of Military Districts and Provisional Governments. T; 
people of the South began, little by little, to realize that th^ 
held their future in their own hands — that the supervising al 
restraining power of the General Government had been wii 



How THE Fallow Was Seeded 153 

drawn. The colored race, yet dazed with the new light of liberty, 
were divided between exultation and fear. They were like a child 
taking his first steps — full of joy at the last accomplished, full of 
terror at the one which was before. 

The state of mind of the Southern white man, with reference 
to the freedman and his exaltation to the privilege of citizenship 
is one which cannot be too frequently analyzed or too closely 
kept in mind by one who desires fully to apprehend the events 
which have since occurred, and the social and political structure 
of the South at this time. 

As a rule, the Southern man had been a kind master to his 
slaves. Conscious cruelty was the exception. The real evils of the 
system were those which arose from its ^^«-conscious barbarism 
— the natural and inevitable results of holding human beings as 

; chattels, without right, the power of self-defence or protestation 

' — dumb driven brutes, deprived of all volition or hope, subser- 
vient to another's will, and bereft of every motive for self-im- 
provement as well as every opportunity to rise. The effect of this 

.upon the dominant race was to fix in their minds, with the 
strength of an absorbing passion, the idea of their own innate 
and unimpeachable superiority, of the unalterable inferiority of 
the slave-race, of the infinite distance between the two, and of the 
depth of debasement implied by placing the two races, in any 

[respect, on the same level. The Southern mind had no antipathy 
to the negro in a menial or servile relation. On the contrary, it 

jswas generally kind and considerate of him, as such. It regarded 

him almost precisely as other people look upon other species of 

animate property, except that it conceded to him the possession 

of human passions, appetites, and motives. As a farmer likes to 

;turn a favorite horse into a fine pasture, watch his antics, and 

'see him roll and feed and run; as he pats and caresses him when 
jhe takes him out, and delights himself in the enjoyment of the 
ifaithful beast — just so the slave-owner took pleasure in the 



ilave's comfort, looked with approval upon his enjoyment of the 



154 Bricks Without Straw 

domestic relation, and desired to see him sleek and hearty, and 
physically well content. 

It was only as a man that the white regarded the black with 
aversion; and, in that point of view, the antipathy was all the 
more intensely bitter since he considered the claim to manhooc 
an intrusion upon the sacred and exclusive rights of his own race, 
This feeling was greatly strengthened by the course of legislation 
and legal construction, both national and State. Many of the 
subtlest exertions of American intellect were those which tracec 
and defined the line of demarcation, until there was built uf 
between the races, considered as men, a wall of separation a 
high as heaven and as deep as hell. 

It may not be amiss to cite some few examples of this, whicl 
will serve at once to illustrate the feeling itself, and to show th< 
steps in its progress. 

1. It was held by our highest judicial tribunal that the phrase "w| 
the people," in the Declaration of Independence, did not includl 
slaves, who were excluded from the inherent rights recited thereij 
and accounted divine and inalienable, embracing, of course, tl 
right of self-government, which rested on the others as substantial 
premises. 

2. The right or privilege, whichever it may be, of intermarriagj 
with the dominant race was prohibited to the African in all tt| 
States, both free and slave and, for all legal purposes, that man wi 
accounted "colored" who had one-sixteenth of African blood. 

3. The common-law right of self-defence was gradually reduct 
by legal subtlety, in the slave States, until only the merest shrc 
remained to the African, while the lightest word of disobedience c 
gesmre of disrespect from him, justified an assault on the part of tl 
white man. ' 

4. Early in the present century it was made a crime in all tli 
States of the South to teach a slave to read, the free blacks we: 
disfranchised, and the most stringent restraining statutes extendi 
over them, including the prohibition of public assembly, even f" 
divine worship, unless a white man were present. 

5. Emancipation was not allowed except by decree of a court f 
record after tedious formality and the assumption of onerous ■ 



How THE Fallow Was Seeded 155 

sponsibilities on the part of the master; and it was absolutely 
forbidden to be done by testament. 

6. As indicative of the fact that this antipathy was directed 
against the colored man as a free agent, a man, solely, may be cited 
the well-known fact of the enormous admixture of the races by 
illicit commerce at the South, and the further fact that this was, in 
very large measure, consequent upon the conduct of the most refined 

■ and cultivated elements of Southern life. As a thing, an animal, a 

■ mere existence, or as the servant of his desire and instrument of his 
« advancement, the Southern Caucasian had no antipathy to the col- 
ored race. As one to serve, to nurse, to minister to his will and 
pleasure, he appreciated and approved of the African to the utmost 

' extent. 

7. Every exercise of manly right, sentiment, or inclination, on the 
9 part of the negro, was rigorously repressed. To attempt to escape 
liwas a capital crime if repeated once or twice; to urge others to 

escape was also capitally punishable; to learn to read, to claim the 
^rights of property, to speak insolently, to meet for prayer without 
»the sanction of the white man's presence, were all offences against 
:;the law; and in this case, as in most others, the law was an index as 
Swell as the source of a public sentiment, which grew step by step 
nwith its progress in unconscious barbarity. 

i? 8. Perhaps the best possible indication of the force of this senti- 
ment, in its ripened and intensest state, is afforded by the course of 
! the Confederate Government in regard to the proposal that it should 
1 arm the slaves. In the very crisis of the struggle, when the passions 
!Wf the combatants were at fever heat, this proposition was made. 
There was no serious question as to the efficiency or faithfulness of 
;:oi:he slaves. The masters did not doubt that, if armed, with the 
::iiDromise of freedom extended to them, they would prove most 
: Ineffective allies, and would secure to the Confederacy that autonomy 
^vhich few thoughtful men at that time believed it possible to 
ichieve by any other means. Such was the intensity of this senti- 
: nent, however, that it was admitted to be impossible to hold the 
5:lv)outhern soldiery in the field should this measure be adopted. So 
DC i-hat the Confederacy, rather than surrender a tithe of its prejudice 
111 against the negro as a man, rather than owe its life to him, serving 
n the capacity of a soldier, chose to suffer defeat and overthrow. 
i rfhe African might raise the food, build the breastworks, and do 
jiijiught of menial service or mere manual labor required for the 



156 Bricks Without Straw 

support of the Confederacy, without objection or demurrer on the 
part of any; but they would rather surrender all that they had fought 
so long and so bravely to secure, rather than admit, even by infer- 
ence, his equal manhood or his fitness for the duty and the danger oJ 
a soldier's life. It was a grand stubbornness, a magnificent adherence 
to an adopted and declared principle, which loses nothing of it! 
grandeur from the fact that we may believe the principle to hav( 
been erroneous. 

9. Another very striking and peculiar illustration of this senti 
ment is the fact that one of the most earnest advocates of th 
abolition of slavery, and a type of its Southern opponents, the autho 
of "The Impending Crisis" — a book which did more than any othe 
to crystallize and confirm the sentiment awakened at the North b 
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" — was perhaps more bitterly averse to th 
freedom, citizenship, and coexistence of the African with the Cauca 
sian than any man that has ever written on the subject. He differe 
from his slaveholding neighbors only in this: they approved tl 
African as a menial, but abominated him as a self-controlling man 
he abhorred him in both relations. With them, the prejudice of rac 
made the negro hateful only when he trenched on the sacred domaij 
of their superior and self -controlling manhood; with him, hatred 
the race overleaped the conventional relation and included th* 
African wherever found, however employed, or in whatsoever rek; 
tion considered. His horror of the black far overtopped his ancieri. 
antipathy to the slave. The fact that he is an exception, and that tb 
extravagant rhodomontades of "Nojoque" are neither indorsed net 
believed by any considerable number of the Southern people, zoi^ 
firms most powerfully this analysis of their temper toward tl ' 
African. 

10. Still another signal instance of its accuracy is the striking fa 
that one of the hottest political struggles since the war arose out 1 
the proposition to give the colored man the right to testify, in coui 
of justice, against a white man. The objection was not bottomed c 
any desire to deprive the colored man of his legal rights, but had i 
root in the idea that it would be a degradation of the white man 
allow the colored man to take the witness-stand and traverse tl 
oath of a Caucasian. 

Now, as it relates to our story: — That this most intense ail 
vital sentiment should find expression whenever the repressii 



How THE Fallow Was Seeded 157 

power of the conquering people was removed was most natural; 
that it would be fanned into a white heat by the freedman's 
enfranchisement was beyond cavil; and that Red Wing should 
escape such manifestations of the general abhorrence of the work 
, of development there going on was not to be expected, even by 
, its most sanguine friend. 

Although the conduct of the teachers at Red Wing had been 
■such as to awaken the respect of all, yet there were two things 
which made the place peculiarly odious. One was the influence of 
'Eliab Hill with his people in all parts of the county, which had 
I very greatly increased since he had ceased to be a pupil, in 
jj appearance, and had betaken himself more than ever to solitude 
>and study. The other was the continued prosperity and rugged 
'lindependence of Nimbus, who was regarded as a peculiarly 
"sassy nigger." To the malign influence of these two was attrib- 
„uted every difference of opinion between employer and em- 
jployee, and every impropriety of conduct on the part of the 
iireedmen of Horsford. Eliab was regarded as a wicked spirit who 
^[devised evil continually, and Nimbus as his willing familiar, who 
"sxecuted his purpose with ceaseless diligence. So Red Wing was 
looked upon with distrust, and its two leading characters, uncon- 
,,5ciously to themselves, became marked men, upon whom rested 
jothe suspicion and aversion of a whole community. 



^3 * An Offering of First-fruits 



An election was impending for members of the Legislature 
and there was great excitement in the county of Horsford. O: 
white Republicans there were not above a half dozen who wer< 
openly known as such. There were two or three others who wer( 
regarded with some suspicion by their neighbors, among whon 
was Hesden Le Moyne. Since he had acted as a judge of electioi 
at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, he had nevcj 
been heard to express any opinion upon political matters. He wa 
known to have voted for that Constitution, and when questione 
as to his reasons for such a course, had arrogantly answered, 

"Simply because I saw fit to do so." 

His interrogator had not seen fit to inquire further. Hesden I 
Moyne was not a man with whom one wished to provoke 
controversy. His unwillingness to submit to be catechised wi 
generally accepted as a proof positive of his "Radical" views, h 
had been an adviser of Nimbus, his colored playmate, in tt 
purchase of the Red Wing property, his interest in Eliab Hill haj 
not slackened since that worthy cast in his lot with Nimbus, an 
he did not hesitate to commend the work of the school. He h£j 
several times attended the examinations there, had becoHj 
known to the teachers, and took an active interest in the mov- 
ment there going on. What his personal views were in regard ', 
the very peculiar state of affairs by which he was surroimded I 
had never found it necessary to declare. He attended quietly : 
the work of his plantation, tenderly cared for his invalid mothe 
and watched the growth of his little son with the seeming; 
settled conviction that his care was due to them rather than >' 
the public. His counsel and assistance were still freely sought 
private matters by the inhabitants of the little village of Rl 
Wing, and neither was ever refused where he saw that it migf: 

158 



i An Offering of First-fruits 159 

do good. He was accounted by them a friend, but not a partisan, 
I and none of them had ever discussed any poHtical questions with 
him, except Ehab Hill, who had more than once talked with him 
upon the important problem of the future of that race to which 
^the unfortunate cripple was so slightly akin and yet so closely 
^iallied. 

There was a large majority of colored men in the county, and 

^one of the candidates for the Legislature was a colored man. 

While elections were under the military control there had been 

'no serious attempt to overcome this majority, but now it was 

'' decided that the county should be "redeemed," which is the 

'favorite name in that section of the country for an unlawful 

'-subversion of a majority. So the battle was joined, and the 

conflict waged hot and fierce. That negroes — no matter how 

numerous they might be — should rule, should bear sway and 

control in the county of Horsford, was a thought not by any 

-means to be endured. It was a blow on every white cheek — an 

'insult to every Caucasian heart. Men cursed wildly when they 

' :hought of it. Women taunted them with cowardice for permit- 

' ring it. It was the one controlling and consuming thought of the 

iiour. 

^! On the other hand, the colored people felt that it was neces- 
^^lary for them to assert their newly-acquired rights if they ex- 
pected to retain them. So that both parties were influenced by the 
Strongest considerations which could possibly affect their action. 
* Red "Wing was one of the points around which this contest 
vaged the hottest. Although it had never become a pollinj? 
'orecinct, and was a place of no mercantile importance, it v/as yet 
"he center from which radiated the spirit that animated the 
colored men of the most populous district in the county. It was 
-heir place of meeting and conference. Accustomed to rejjard 
?iheir race as peculiarly dependent upon the Divine aid because of 
I he lowly position they had so long occupied, they had become 
[Habituated to associate political and religious interests. The help- 



i6o Bricks Without Straw 

lessness of servitude left no room for hope except through the 
trustfulness of faith. The generation which saw slavery swepi 
away, and they who have heard the tale of deliverance from th< 
lips of those who had been slaves, will never cease to trace th( 
hand of God visibly manifested in the events culminating ir 
liberty, or to regard the future of the freed race as under th( 
direct control of the Divine Being. For this reason the politica 
and religious interests and emotions of this people are quit 
inseparable. Wherever they meet to worship, there they wil 
meet to consult of their plans, hopes, and progress, as at once 
distinct race and a part of the American people. Their religion 
tinged with political thought, and their political thought shape 
by religious conviction. 

In this respect the colored race in America are the true chi] 
dren of the Covenanters and the Puritans. Their faith is of tl^ 
same unquestioning type, which no disappointment or delay ca 
daunt, and their view of personal duty and obligation in regar 
to it is not less intense than that which led men to sing psaln 
and utter praises on board the storm-bound "Mayflower." Tl 
most English of all English attributes has, by a strange transmj 
tation, become the leading element in the character of the Afi 
co-American. The same mixed motive of religious duty towai 
posterity and devotion to political liberty which peopled tl 
bleak hills of New England and the fertile lands of Canaan wi^ 
peoples fleeing from bondage and oppression, may yet cover tlj 
North with dusky fugitives from the spirit and the situs 
slavery. 

From time to time there had been political meetings held ^ 
the church or school-house, composed mainly of colored me, 
though now and then a little knot of white men would come n 
and watch their proceedings, sometimes from curiosity, ail 
sometimes from spleen. Heretofore, however, there had been ii 
more serious interruption than some sneering remarks and de- 
sive laughter. The colored men felt that it was their own doma, 



I An Offering of First-fruits i6i 

and showed much more boldness than they would ever manifest 
on other occasions. During this campaign, however, it was deter- 
limined to have a grand rally, speeches, and a barbecue at Red 
I Wing. The colored inhabitants of that section were put upon 
their mettle. Several sheep and pigs were roasted, rude tables 
twere spread under the trees, and all arrangements made for a 
-great occasion. 

i At an early hour of the day when it was announced that the 
toeeting would be held, groups of colored people of all ages and 
■ both sexes began to assemble. They were all talking earnestly as 
I they came, for some matter of unusual interest seemed to have 
>tasurped for the moment their accustomed lightness and jollity of 
demeanor. 

^ Nimbus, as the most prosperous and substantial colored man 
it)f the region, had always maintained a decided leadership among 
D[hem, all the more from the fact that he had sought thereby to 
3)btain no advantage for himself. Though a most ardent sup- 
Ijorter of that party with which he deemed the interests of his 
l^ace inseparably allied, he had never taken a very active part in 
Politics, and had persistently refused to be put forward for any 
)fficial position, although frequently urged to allow himself to be 
iiamed a candidate. 

i| "No," he would always say; "I hain't got no larnin' an' not 
Imuch sense. Besides, I'se got all I kin manage, an' more too, 
■1-takin' keer o' dis yer farm. Dat's what I'm good fer. I kin 
manage terbacker, an' I'd ruther hev a good plantation an' run it 
nyself, than all the offices in the worl'. I'se jes fit fer dat, an' I 
btin't fit fer nuffin' else." 

i His success proved the justice of his estimate, and the more he 
: prospered the stronger was his hold upon his people. Of course, 
: iaere were some who envied him his good-fortune, but such was 
1 bis good-nature and readiness to render all the assistance in his 
t bower that this dangerous leaven did not spread. "Bre'er Nim- 
l jcus" was still the heart and life of the community which had its 



i62 Bricks Without Straw 

center at Red Wing. His impetuosity was well tempered by the 
subtle caution of Eliab Hill, without whose advice he seldom 
acted in any important matter. 

The relations between these two men had continued singularly 
close, although of late Eliab had been more independent of his 
friend's assistance than formerly; for, at the suggestion of the 
teachers, his parishioners had contributed little sums — a dime, 
quarter, and a few a half-dollar apiece — to get him one of thos< 
wheeled chairs which are worked by the hands, and by means o: 
which the infirm are frequently enabled to move about withou 
other aid. It was the first time they had ever given anything to 
minister of their own, and it was hard for those who had ti 
support families upon a pittance which in other parts of thi 
country would mean starvation; yet so many had hastened t 
give, that the "go-cart," as it was generally called, proved 
vehicle of marvelous luxury and finish to the unaccustomed eye 
of these rude children of the plantation. 

In this chair Eliab was able to transport himself to and fro: 
the school-room, and even considerable distances among 1: 
people. This had brought him into nearer relations with then! 
and it was largely owing to his influence that, after Northeil 
benevolence began to restrict its gifts and to condition its benev 
lence upon the exercise of a self-help which should provide for 
moiety of the expense, the school still continued full and prd 
perous, and the services of Miss Ainslie were retained for anotW 
year — the last she intended to give to the missionary work whi/ 
accident had thrust upon her young life. Already her heart w: 
pining for the brightness and kindly cheer of the green-clad hi i 
from which she had been exiled so long, and the friends whc; 
hearts and arms would welcome her again to her childhoo<!> 
home. 

On the morning of the barbecue Nimbus and his househ 
were astir betimes. Upon him devolved the chief burden of 
entertainment which was to be spread before his neighbc 



I 



i An Offering of First-fruits 163 

\ There was an abundance of willing hands, but few who could do 

, much toward providing the requisite material. His premises had 

undergone little change beyond the wide, cool, latticed walk 

^) which now led from his house to the kitchen, and thence to 

i "Uncle 'Liab's" house, over which Virginia-creepers and honey- 

[ suckle were already clambering in the furious haste which that 

.quick-growing clime inspires in vegetation. A porch had also 

cjbeen added to his own house, up the posts and along the eaves of 

; which the wisteria was clambering, while its pendulous, lilac 

[flower-stems hung thick below. A few fruit-trees were planted 

9 here and there, and the oaks, which he had topped and shortened 

back when he cut away the forest for his house-lot, had put out 

jnew and dense heads of dark-green foliage that gave to the 

humble home a look of dignity and repose hardly to be matched 

^by more ornate and costly structures. Upon the north side the 

^fCorn grew rank and thick up to the very walls of the mud-daubed 

gable, softening its rudeness and giving a charm even to the bare 

■Jogs of which it was formed. Lugena had grown full and ma- 

: tronly, had added two to her brood of lusty children, and showed 

jwhat even a brief period of happiness and prosperity would do 

^for her race as she bustled about in neat apparel with a look of 

gjupreme content on her countenance. 

t|]| Long before the first comers from the country around had 
,,Tiade their appearance, the preparations were completed, the 
jnorning meal cleared away, the table set in the latticed passage 
ffor the dinner of the most honored guests, the children made 
j/idy, and Nimbus, magnificently attired in clean shirt, white 
^Dants and vest, a black alpaca coat and a new Panama hat, was 
^eady to welcome the expected arrivals. 

Eliab, too, made tidy by the loving care of his friends, was 

arly mounted in his hand-carriage, and propelling himself here 

ijnd there to meet the first comers. The barbecue was roasting 

ij nder the charge of an experienced cook; the tables were ar- 

i longed, and the speakers' stand at the back of the school-house in 



164 Bricks Without Straw 

the grove was in the hands of the decorators. All was mirth and 
happiness. The freedmen were about to offer oblations to liberty 
— a sacrifice of the first-fruits of freedom. 



^4 • A Black Democritus 



"I say, Bre'er Nimbus!" cried a voice from the midst of 
group of those first arriving, "how yer do dis mornin'? Hope yer' 
well, Squar', you an' all de family." 

The speaker was a slender, loose-jointed young man, some 
what shabbily attired, with a shapeless narrow-brimmed felt ha 
in his hand, who was bowing and scraping with a mock solerr 
nity to the dignitary of Red Wing, while his eyes sparkled wit' 
fun and his comrades roared at his comic gestures. 

"Is dat you. Berry?" said Nimbus, turning, with a smile. "Ho^ 
yer do, Berry? Glad ter see ye well," nodding familiarly to th 
others and extending his hand. 

"Thank ye, sah. You do me proud," said the jester, sidlin* 
towards him and bowing to the crowd with seriocomic gravit 
"Ladies an' gemmen, yer jes takes notice, ef yer please, dat I ain 
stuck up — not a mite, I ain't, ef I is pore. I'se not ashamed t<' 
shake hands wid Mr. Squar' Nimbus — Desmit — War'. I Stan's 1 
him whatever his name, an' no matter how many he's got, ef ii' 
more'n he's got fingers an' toes." He bowed low with a solerr 
wave of his grimy hat, as he shook the proffered hand, amid tl 
laughter of his audience, with whom he seemed to be a prin 
favorite. 



j A Black Democritus 165 

,j "Glad ter know it, Berry," said Nimbus, shaking the other's 
1 hand warmly, while his face glowed with evident pleasure. 
"How's all gittin' on wid ye, ennyhow?" 

"Gittin on, Bre'er Nimbus?" replied Berry, striking an atti- 

ntude. "Gittin' on, did yer say? Lor' bress yer soul, yer nebber seed 

de beat — nebber. Ef yer ebber pegs out h'yer at Red Wing, Bre'er 

Nimbus, all yer's got ter du is jes ter come up on de Kentry Line 

whar folks libs. Jes you look o' dar, will yer?" he continued, 

extending a slender arm ending in a skinny hand, the widely 

parted fingers of which seemed like talons, while the upturned 

, palm was worn smooth and was of a yellowish, pallid white 

; about the fingers' ends. "Jes see de 'fee's ob high libbin' on a 

nigger. Dar's muscle fer ye. All you needs, Bre'er Nimbus, is jest 

a few weeks ob good feed! Come up dar now an' wuk a farm on 

.isheers, an' let Marse Sykes 'llowance ye, an' yer'll come out like 

[•me an' git some good clothes, too! Greatest place ter start up a 

.run-down nigger yer ever seed. Jes' look at me, now. When I 

i;went dar I didn't hev a rag ter my back — nary a rag, an' now jes 

i^isee how I'se covered wid 'em! " 

[| There was a laugh from the crowd in which Berry joined 
' heartily, rolling his eyes and contorting his limbs so as to show in 
jjthe completest manner the striking contrast between his lank, 
jijtringy, meanly-clad frame and the full, round, well-clothed form 
j|of Nimbus. 

When the laughter had subsided he struck in again, with the 
irt of an accomplished tease, and sidling still closer to the 
Tiagnate of Red Wing, he said, with a queer assumption of 
familiarity : 

' "An' how is yer good lady, Missus Lugena, an' all de babies, 
i5cjuar'? They tell me you're gittin' on right smart an' think of 
ettin' up yer kerridge putty soon. Jes' ez soon ez yer git it ready, 
iJally an' me's a-comin' over ter christen it. We's cousins, yer 
j:now, Squar', leastways, Sally an' Lugena's alius said ter be kin 
)n the fayther's side — the white side ob de family, yer know. Yer 



i66 Bricks Without Straw 

wouldn't go back on yer relations, would yer, Nimbus? We ain't 
proud, not a bit proud, Bre'er Nimbus, an' yer ain't a gwine ter 
forgit us, is yer? Yah, yah, yah!" 

There was a tinge of earnestness in this good-natured banter, 
but it was instantly dissipated by Nimbus's reply: 

"Not a bit of it, cousin Berry. Lugena charged me dis berry 
mornin', jes ez soon ez I seed you an' Sally, ter invite ye ter help 
eat her big dinner to-day. Whar' is Sally?" 

"Dar now," said Berry, "dat's jes what I done tole Sally, now. 
She's got a notion, kase you's rich yer's got stuck up, you an'i 
Lugena. But I tole her, sez I, "Nimbus ain't dat ar sort of a chilej 
Nimbus hain't. He's been a heap luckier nor de rest of us, but hd 
ain't got de big-head, nary bit.' Dat's what I say, an' durn me ef 1 
don't b'lieve it too, I does. We's been hevin' purty hard timea 
Sally an' me hez. Nebber did hev much luck, yer know — 'cept ioi 
chillen. Yah, yah! An' jes' dar we's hed a trifle more'n we 'zacklj 
keered about. Might hev spared a few an' got along jest ez well 
'cordin' ter my notion. Den de ole woman's been kinder peakec 
this summer, an' some two or free ob de babies hez been righ 
poorly, an' Sal — wal, she got a leettle fretted, kase yer know w< 
both wuks purty hard an' don't seem ter o;it ahead a morsel. S^ 
she got her back up, an' sez she ter me dis mornin': 'Berry,' sel 
she, 'I ain't a gwine ter go near cousin Nimbus', I ain't, kase 
hain't got no fine clo'es, ner no chicken-fixing ter take ter de bai 
becue nuther.' So she's done stop up ter Bob Mosely's wid de bab]' 
an' I t'ought I'd jes come down an' spy out de Ian' an' see whic 
on us wuz right. Dat's de fac' taif, Bre'er Nimbus, an' no lyin 
Yah, yah!" 

"Sho, sho, Berry," replied Nimibus, reproachfully; "wb 
makes Sally sech a big fool? She oughter be ashamed ter tre: 
her ole fren's dat ar way." 

"Now yer talkin', Bre'er Nimbus, dat you is! But la sake 
Bre'er Nimbus, dat ar gal hain't got no pride. Why yer wouldr 
b'lieve hit, but she ain't even 'shamed of Berry — fac'! Yah, yal 
What yer tinks ob dat now?" 



I 



A Black Democritus 167 

I "Why, co'se she ain't," said Nimbus. "Don't see how she could 
^ be. Yer always jes dat peart an' jolly dat nobody couldn't git put 
out widyer." 

, "Tink so, Bre'er Nimbus? Wal, now, I 'shures ye dat yer 
couldn't be wuss mistaken ef yer'd tried. On'y jes' dis mornin' 
) Marse Sykes got put out wid me jes de wus kind." 
1 "How's dat, Berry?" 

t "Wal, yer see, I'se been a wukkin' fer him ebber sence de 
,s'rrender jes de same ez afore, only dat he pays me an' I owes 
, him. He pays me in sto' orders, an' it 'pears like I owes him mo' 
jan' mo' ebbery time we settles up. Didn't use ter be so when we 
jhed de Bureau, kase den Marse Sykes' 'count didn't use ter be so 
^big; but dese las' two year sence de Bureau done gone, bress God, 
3I gits nex' ter nuffin' ez we goes 'long, an' hez less 'n nuffin' 
iatterwards." 

ijj' "What wages d'ye git?" asked Nimbus. 

; "Marse Sykes, he sez I gits eight doUahs a month, myself, an' 
v5ally she gits fo'; an' den we hez tree pounds o' meat apiece an' a 
toeck o' meal, each on us, ebbery week. We could git along right 
,3eart on dat — we an' de chillens, six on 'em — wid jes' a drop o' 

coffee now an' agin, yer know; but yer see, Sally, she's a leetle 
^pnsartin an' can't alius wuk, an' it 'pears like it takes all ob my 
j^uk ter pay fer her rations when she don't wuk. I dunno how 'tis, 

jbut dat's de way Marse Sykes figgers it out." 
I y "Yer mus' buy a heap ob fine clo'es," said one of the bystand- 

,' "Wall, ef I does, I leaves 'em ter home fer fear ob wearin' 'em 

,)ut, don't I?" said Berry, glancing at his dilapidated costume. 

jfDat's what's de matter. I'se bad 'nough off, but yer jest orter see 

, jlem chillen! Dey war's brak ebbery day jes' like a minister, yer 

I'nows — not sto' clo'es dough, oh, no! home-made all de time! 

;^ostly bar'-skins, yer know! Yah, yah!" 

, "An' yer don't drink, nuther," said one whose words and 
. appearance clearly showed that he regarded it as a matter of 

iirprise that any one should not. 



i68 Bricks Without Straw 

" 'Ceptin' only de Christmas an' when some feller treats," 
responded Berry. 

"P'raps he makes it outen de holidays," said a third. "Dar's 
whar my boss sloshes it on ter me. Clar ef I don't hev more 
holidays than dar is wuk-days, 'cordin 'ter his 'count." 

"Holidays!" said Berry; "dat's what's de matter. Hain't hed but 
jes tree holidays 'cep' de Chris'mas weeks, in all dat time. So, I 
'llowed I'd take one an' come ter dis yer meetin'. Wal, 'long de 
fust ob de week, I make bold ter tell him so, an' ebber sence dat 
'pears like he's gwine ter hu't hisself, he's been so mad. I'se donej 
tried not ter notice it, kase I'se dat solemn-like myself, yer knowsj 
I couldn't 'ford ter take on no mo' ob dat kind; but every day oi| 
two he's been a lettin' slip somethin' 'bout niggas gaddin roun', 
yer know." 

"That was mean," said Nimbus, "kase ef yer is alius laughin' 
an' hollerin' roun', I'm boun' ter say dar ain't no stiddier han' in 
de county at enny sort ob wuk." 

"Jes' so. Much obleeged ter ye, Squar', fer dat. Same ter yesel: 
'tu. Howsomever, he didn't make no sech remark, not ez I heerc 
on, an' dis mornin' bright an' airly, he corned roun' an' axes m( 
didn't I want ter take de carry-all and go ter Lewyburg; an' wher 
I 'llowed dat I didn't keer tu, not jes to-day, yer know, he axeo 
me, was I comin' h'yer ter dis yer meetin', an' when I 'llowed \ 
was, he jes' got up an' rar'd. Yah, yah! how he did make de turj 
fly, all by hissef, kase I wur a whistlin' 'Ole Jim Crow' an' som( 
other nice psalm-tunes, jes' ter keep myself from larfin' in hi 
face! Till finally he sez, sez he, 'Berry Lawson, ef yer goes ter da 
er Radikil meetin', yer needn't never come back ter my planta 
tion no mo'. Yer can't stay h'yer no longer — •' jes so. Den I mad> 
bold ter ax him how our little 'count stood, kase we's been livir 
mighty close fer a while, in hopes ter git a mite ahead so's ter ser, 
de two oldes' chillen ter school h'yer, 'gin winter. An' den se 
he, 'Count be damned!' — jes so; 'don't yer know hit's in de papei: 
dat ef yer don't 'bey me an' wuk obedient ter my wishes, ye 



1 A Black Democritus 169 

•'don't git nary cent, nohow at all?' I tole him I didn't know dat 
ar, and didn't reckon he did. Den he out wid de paper an' red it 
bber ter me, an' shure 'nough, dar 'tis, dough I'll swar I nebber 
'heerd nothin' on't afo'. Nebber hed no sech ting in de papers 
when de Bureau man drawed 'em up, dat's shuah." 
f! "How de debble yer come ter sign sech a paper, Berry?" said 
i|>Jimbus. 

^ "Dod burned ef I know, Cousin Nimbus. Tes kase I don' 
know no better, I s'pose. How I gwine ter know what's in dat 
'Saper, hey? Does you read all de papers yer signs, Squar' Nim- 
^)us? Not much, I reckons; but den you keeps de minister right 
! I'yer ter han' tu read 'em for ye. Can't all ob us afford dat, Bre'er 
-I'^Timbus." 

"Yah, yah, dat's so!" "Good for you, Berry!" from the crowd. 
?^ "Wal, yer orter hev a guardian — all on us ought, for dat 
natter," said Nimbus; "but I don't s'pose dere's ary man in de 
country dat would sign sech a paper ef he know'd it, an' nobody 
•mt Granville Sykes that would hev thought of sech a dodge." 
fpl "It's jes so in mine," said one of the bystanders. "And in 
^nine;" "an mine," added one and another. 
' "And has any one else offered to turn men off for comin' 
*iere?" asked Nimbus. 

'1 To his surprise, he learned that two thirds the men in the 
[j'rowd had been thus threatened. 

}\ "Jes let 'em try it! " he exclaimed, angrily. "Dey dassent do it, 
jkohow. They'll find out dat a man can't be imposed on alius, ef 
'iie is pore an' black. Dat dey will! I'se only jes a pore man, but I 
ftiain't enny sech mean cuss ez to stan' roun' an' see my race an' 
[j:in put on in dat ar way, I hain't." 
; "All right. Cousin Nimbus, ef Marse Sykes turns me outen 
L'louse an' home, I knows right whar I comes ter, now." 

"Co'se yer do," said Nimbus, proudly. "Yer jes comes ter me 
In* I takes keer on ye. I needs anudder han' in de crap, enny- 

lOW." 






lyo Bricks Without Straw 

"Now, Cousin Nimbus, yer ain't in airnest, is yer? Yer don'i 
mean dat, pop-suah, does yer now?" asked Berry anxiously. 

"Dat I does, Cousin Berry! dat I does!" was the hearty re 
sponse. 

"Whoop, hurrah! " cried Berry, throwing up his hat, turning 
hand-spring, and catching the hat as it came down. "Whar's da 
Sally Ann? H'yeah, you fellers, clar away dar an' let me come 
her. H'yer I goes now, I jes tole her dis yer bressed mornin' dat 
tuk a fool fer luck. Hi-yah!" he cried, executing a somersau 
and diving through the crowd he ran away. As he started off, h 
saw his wife walking along the road toward Nimbus' house b 
the side of Eliab Hill in his rolling-chair. Berry dashed back in^ 
the circle where Nimbus was engaged in earnest conversatid 
with the crowd in relation to the threats which had been made 
them by their employers. 

"H'yer, Cousin Nimbus," he cried, "I done fergot ter thank )^ 
I was dat dar' flustered by good luck, yer know. I'se a t'ousa 
times obleeged ter ye, Bre'er Nimbus, jes' a t'ousan' times, 
h'yer's Sally Ann, right outside on de road h'yer, she'll be powe 
ful glad ter hear on't. I'd jes ez lief wuk fer you as a white ma 
Bre'er Nimbus. I ain't proud, I ain't! Yah! yah!" 

He dragged Nimbus through the crowd to intercept his wii 
crying out as soon as they came near: 

"H'yer, you Sally Ann, what yer tinks now? H'yer's Bre' 
Nimbus sez dat ef dat ole cuss, Marse Sykes, should happen 
turn us off, he's jest a gwine ter take us in bag an' baggage, tra] , 
chillen and calamities, an* gib us de bes' de house affo'ds, an' wc 
in de crap besides. What yer say now, you Sally Ann, ain't jr 
'shamed fer what yer sed 'bout Bre'er Nimbus only dis y(£ 
mornin'?" 

"Dat I be. Cousin Nimbus," said Sally, turning a comely Kt 
careworn face toward Nimbus, and extending her hand witla 
smile. "Bre'er 'Liab was jest a-tellin' me what a fool I was ir 
ever feel so toward jes de bes' man in de kentry, ez he sez." 



1 A Double-headed Argument 171 

,: "An I be damned ef he ain't right, too," chimed in Berry. 

"Sho, you Berry, Ain't yer 'shamed now — usin' cuss-words 
■iaiore de minister! " said Sally. 

"Beg yer parding, Bre'er Hill," said Berry, taking off his hat, 
fEnd bowing with mock solemnity to that worthy. "Hit's been 
|sech a long time sence Sunday come ter our house dat I nigh 
li'bout forgot my 'ligion." 

y "An' yer manners too," said Sally briskly, turning from her 
^conversation with Nimbus. 

j "Jes so, Bre'er Hill, but yer see I was dat ar flustered by my ole 
j woman takin' on so 'bout dat ar sneakin' cuss ob a Marse Sykes a 
ijturnin' on us off, dat I hardly knowed which from todder, an' 
jfwhen Cousin Nimbus 'greed ter take me up jes de minnit he 
.idropped me down, hit kinder tuk me off my whoopendickilar, 
fer know." 



15 • A Double-headed Argument 



The attempt to prevent the attendance of voters at the meet- 
(,ng, showing as it did a preconcerted purpose and design on the 
I Dart of the employers to use their power as such, to overcome 
■ jriheir political opponents, was the cause of great indignation at 
Ijdie meeting, and gave occasion for some flights of oratory which 
I'vould have fallen upon dull ears but for the potent truth on 
, jwhich they were based. Even the cool and cautious Eliab Hill 
J tj^ould not restrain himself from an allusion to the sufferings of 
lis people when he was raised upon the platform, still sitting in 



172 Bricks Without Straw 

his rolling-chair, and with clasped hands and reverent face asked 
God's blessing upon the meeting about to be held. 

Especially angry was our friend Nimbus about this attempt to 
deprive his race of the reasonable privileges of a citi2en. Perhaps 
the fact that he was himself a proprietor and employer rendered 
him still more jealous of the rights of his less fortunate neigh- 
bors. The very immunity which he had from any such danger no j 
doubt emboldened him to express his indignation more strongly, 
and after the regular speeches had been made he mounted the, 
platform and made a vigorous harangue upon the necessity of 
maintaining the rights which had been conferred upon them by 
the chances of war. 

"We's got ter take keer ob ourselves," said he. "De guv'ment 
hez been doin' a heap for us. It's gin us ourselves, our wives, our 
chillen, an' a chance ter du fer ourselves an' fer dern; an' nowi 
we's got ter du it. Ef we don't stan' togedder an' keep de whitCi 
folks from a-takin' away what we's got, we nebber gits no mo'. 
In fac', we jes goes back'ards instead o' forrards till yer can't tell 
de difference twixt a free nigger an' a rale ole time slave. Dat's 
my 'pinion, an' I say now's de time ter begin — jes when day 
begins. Ef a man turns off ary single one fer comin' ter disj 
meetin' evr'y han' dat is ter wuk for him oughter leave him to 
once an' nary colored man ought ter do a stroke ob wuk fer himj 
till he takes 'em back." 

Loud cheers greeted this announcement, but one old white-^ 
headed man arose and begged leave to ask him a question, whict? 
being granted, he said: 

"Now, feller citizens, I'se been a listenin' ter all dat's been saici 
here to-day, an' I'm jest ez good a 'Publikin ez enny ub de 
speakers. Yer all knows dat. But I can't fer de life ob me see how 
we's gwine ter carry out sech advice. Ef we leave one man, how's; 
we gwine ter git wuk wid anodder? An' ef we does, ain't it jest i 
shiftin' ub han's? Does it make ary difference — at least enough 



I A Double-headed Argument 173 

J ter speak on — ^whether a white man hez his wuk done by one 

nigger er another?" 
}\ "But," said Nimbus, hotly, "we oughtn't ter none on us wuk 
f| fer him." 

1^ "Then," said the old man, "what's we ter do fer a libbin? 
i Here's half er two thirds ob dis crowd likely ter be turned off 
' afore to-morrer night. Now what's yer gwine ter do 'bout it? 
; We's got ter lib an' so's our wives an' chillens. How's we gwine 
^\ ter s'port dem widout home or wuk?" 

i "Let them git wuk wid somebody else, that's all," said Nimbus, 
1!^ "Yes, Bre'er Nimbus, but who's a-gwine ter s'port 'em while 
we's waitin' fer de white folks ter back down, I wants ter know?" 
I "I will," said Nimbus, proudly. 

*i "I hain't no manner ob doubt," said the other, "dat Bre'er 

JiNimbus'll do de berry bes' dat he can in sech a case, but he must 

i 'member dat he's only one and we's a great many. He's been 

"mighty fortinit an' I'se mighty glad ter know it; but jes s'pose 

-ebbery man in de county dat hires a han' should turn him off 

likase he comes ter dis meetin' an' goes ter 'lection, what could 

i Bre'er Nimbus du towards a feedin' on us? Ob co'se, dey's got ter 

J hev wuk in de crop, but you mus' 'member dat when de 'lection 

comes off de crap's all laid by, an' der ain't no mo' pressin' need 

it fer wuk fer months ter come. Now, how's we gwine ter lib 

during dat time? Whar's we gwine ter lib? De white folks kin 

''Stan' it — dey's got all dey wants — but we can't. Now, what's we 

:t' gwine ter do? Jest ez long ez de guv'ment stood by us an' seed 

dat we hed a far show, we could stan' by de guv'ment. I'se jest ez 

5' good a 'Publikin ez ennybody h'yer, yer all knows dat; but I 

hain't a gwine ter buck again impossibles, I ain't. I'se got a sick 

twife an' five chillen. I ain't a gwine ter bring 'em nex' do' ter 

'Starvation 'less I sees some use in it. Now, I don't see no use in dis 

'h'yer notion, not a bit. Ef de white folks hez made up der 

S'tninds — an' hit seems ter me dey hez — dat cullu'd folks shan't 



174 Bricks Without Straw 

vote 'less dey votes wid dem, we mout jest ez well gib up fust 
as las'!" 

"Nebber! nebber, by God!" cried Nimbus, striding across the 
platform, his hands clenched and the veins showing full and 
round on neck and brow. The cry was echoed by nearly all 
present. Shouts, and cheers, and groans, and hisses rose up in an 
indistinguishable roar. 

"Put him out! Down wid him!" with other and fiercer cries, 
greeted the old man's ears. 

Those around him began to jostle and crowd upon him. 
Already violent hands were upon him, when Eliab Hill dashed' 
up the inclined plane which had been made for his convenience, 
and, whirling himself to the side of Nimbus, said, as he pointed 
with flaming face and imperious gesture to the hustling and! 
boisterous crowd about the old man, 

"Stop that! " 

In an instant Nimbus was in the midst of the swaying crowd 
his strong arms dashing right and left until he stood beside the 
now terrified remonstrant. 

"Dar, dar, boys, no mo' ob dat," he cried, as he pushed the 
howling mass this way and that. "Jes you listen ter Bre'er 'Liab' 
Don't yer see he's a talkin' to yer?" he said, pointing to thi 
platform where Eliab sat with upraised hand, demanding silence 

When silence was at last obtained he spoke with more earnest 
ness and power than was his wont, pleading for moderation anc 
thoughtfulness for each other, and a careful consideration o: 
their surroundings. 

"There is too much truth," he said, "in all that has been sail 
here to-day. Brother Nimbus is right in saying that we mus 
guard our rights and privileges most carefully, if we would no 
lose them. The other brother is right, too, in saying that but fcv' 
of us can exercise those privileges if the white men stand to 
gether and refuse employment to those who persist in votin 
against them. It is a terrible question, fellow-citizens, and on 



I 



|i A Double-headed Argument 175 

\j that it is hard to deal with. Every man should do his duty and 

vote, and act as a citizen whenever called upon to do so, for the 
If sake of his race in the future. We should not be weakly and 
j) easily driven from what has been gained for us. We may have to 
I suffer — ^perhaps to fight and die; but our lives are nothing to the 
y inheritance we may leave our children. 

{! "At the same time we should not grow impatient with our 
,, brethren who cannot walk with us in this way. I believe that we 

shall win from this contest the supreme seal of our race's free- 
jdom. It may not come in our time, but it will be set on the 
I, foreheads of our children. At all events, we must work together, 
J aid each other, comfort each other, stand by each other. God has 
.-taught us patience by generations of suffering and waiting, and 
^•by the light which came afterwards. We should not doubt Him 
inow. Let us face our danger like men; overcome it if we may, 

and if not, bow to the force of the storm and gather strength, 

rooting ourselves deep and wide while it blows, in order that we 
l|.may rise erect and free when it shall have passed. 
jifl "But above all things there must be no disagreement. The 
^'colored people must stand or fall together. Those who have been 
j^as fortunate as our Brother Nimbus may breast the tempest, and 
|We must all struggle on and up to stand beside them. It will not 
^ do to weakly yield or rashly fight. Remember that our people are 
,,on trial, and more than mortal wisdom is required of us by those 
Ijj'who have stood our friends. Let us show them that we are men, 

not only in courage to do and dare, but also to wait and suffer. 

iLet the young and strong, and those who have few children, who 
^have their own homes or a few months' provision, let them bid 
^defiance to those who would oppress us; but let us not require 
.those to join us who are not able or willing to take the worst that 
, imay come. Remember that while others have given us freedom, 
i.'we must work and struggle and wait for liberty — that liberty 

which gives as well as receives, self-supporting, self-protecting, 
uholding the present and looking to the future with confidence. 



176 Bricks Without Straw 

We must be as free of the employer as we are of the master — free 
of the white people as they are of us. It will be a long, hard 
struggle, longer and harder than we have known perhaps; but as 
God lives, we shall triumph if we do but persevere with wisdom 
and patience, and trust in Him who brought us up out of 
the Egypt of bondage and set before our eyes the Canaan of 
liberty." 

The eSect of this address was the very opposite of what Eliab 
had intended. His impassioned references to their imperilled 
liberty, together with his evident apprehension of even greater! 
danger than was then apparent, accorded so poorly with hisj 
halting counsel for moderation that it had the effect to arouse the 
minds of his hearers to resist such aggression even at every riskj 
So decided was this feeling that the man whom Nimbus had just 
rescued from the rudeness of those about him and who had beeq 
forgotten during the remarks of the minister, now broke forth 
and swinging his hat about his head, shouted: 

"Three cheers for 'Liab Hill! an I tells yer what, brudderin'. 
dat ef dis yer is ter be a fight fer takin' keer ob de freedom we's 
got, I'se in fer it as fur ez ennybody. We must save the crap that's 
been made, ef we don't pitch ary other one in our day at all, 
Them's my notions, an' Til stan' by 'em — er die by 'em ef wusi 
comes ter wust." 

Then there was a storm of applause, some ringing resolutions 
were adopted, and the meeting adjourned to discuss the barbecue 
and talk patriotism with each other. 

There was much clamor and boasting. The candidates, ir 
accordance with a time-honored custom in that region, had com( 
prepared to treat, and knowing that no liquor could be bought ai 
Red Wing, had brought a liberal supply, which was freelj 
distributed among the voters. 

On account of the large majority of colored voters in thi." 
country, no attempt had previously been made to influence then 
in this manner, so that they were greatly excited by this threat o 



I 



Taken At His Word 177 

coercion. Of course, they talked very loud, and many boasts were 
ti made, as to what they would do if the white people persisted in 
ithe course indicated. There was not one, however, who in his 
I drunkest moment threatened aught against their white neighbors 
; unless they were unjustly debarred the rights which the law 
)i conferred upon them. They wanted "a white man's chance." That 
was all. 

i, There was no such resolution passed, but it was generally 
i noised abroad that the meeting had resolved that any planter 
))who discharged a hand for attending that meeting would have 
rthe privilege of cutting and curing his tobacco without help. As 
J this was the chief crop of the region, and one admitting of no 
iidelay in its harvesting and curing, it was thought that this would 
iprove a sufficient guaranty of fair treatment. However, a commit- 
fttee was appointed to look after this matter, and the day which 
■had seemed to dawn so inauspiciously left the colored voters of 
that region more united and determined than they had ever been 
i;before. 



x6 • Taken at His Word 

X It was past midnight of the day succeeding the meeting, when 
joTimbus was awakened by a call at his front gate. Opening the 
lioorhe called out: 
^' "Who's dar?" 

: "Nobody but jes we uns, Bre'er Nimbus," replied the unmis- 
i jjikable voice of Berry. "H'yer we is, bag an' baggage, traps an' 



lyS Bricks Without Straw 

calamities, jest ez I tole yer. Call off yer dogs, ef yer please, an' 
come an' 'scort us in as yer promised. H'yer we is — Sally an' me 
an' Bob an' Mariar an' Bill an' Jim an' Sally junior — an' for' Goc 
I can't get fru de roll-call alone. Sally, you jest interduce Cousin 
Nimbus ter de rest ob dis family, will yer?" 

Sure enough, on coming to the gate, Nimbus found Berry anc 
Sally there with their numerous progeny, several bundles oi 
clothing and a few household wares. 

"Why, what does dis mean, Berry?" he asked. 

"Mean? Yah, yah!" said the mercurial Berry. "Wal now, ain' 
dat cool? H'yer he axes me ter come ter his house jest ez soon ez 
ever Marse Granville routs us offen his plantation, an' ez soon' 
ever we comes he wants ter know what it means! How's dat fei 
cousinin', eh? Now don't yer cry, Sally Ann. Jes yer wait till 1 
tell Cousin Nimbus de circumstanshuels an' see ef he don't ax u^ 
inside de gate." 

"Oh, Cousin Nimbus," said Sally, weeping piteously, "don't ye: 
go ter fault us now — don't please. Hit warn't our fault at all 
leastways we didn't mean it so. I did tell Berry he'd better sta- 
an' du what Marse Sykes wanted him ter, 'stead of comin' tu de 
meetin', an' my mind misgive me all day kase he didn't. But i 
didn't look for no sech bad luck as we've hed." 

"Come in, come in, gal," said Nimbus, soothingly, as h 
opened the gate, "an' we'll talk it all ober in de mornin'." 

"Oh, der ain't nuffin' mo' to be told, Squar'," said Berry, "on" 
when we done got home we foun' dis yer truck outdoors in tl: 
road, an' de chillen at a neighbor's cryin' like de mischief. E 
house was locked up an' nailed up besides. I went down t( 
Marse Sykes' an' seed him, atter a gret while, but he jes sed I 
didn't know nothin' 'bout it, only he wanted the house fi 
somebody ez 'ud wuk when he tole 'em tu, instead ub gaddi 
roun' ter p'litcal meetins; an' ez my little traps happened ter 1; 
in de way he'd jes sot 'em inter de big-road, so dey'd be han( ' 
when I come ter load 'em on ter take away. So we jes take 



f 



Taken At His Word 179 

f ightest on 'em an' de chillen an' corned on ter take up quarters 
^md you cordin' ter de 'rangement we made yesterday." 
H "Dat's all right; jes right," said Nimbus; "but I don't under- 
itand it quite. Do yer mean ter say dat Marse Sykes turn you uns 
)ffen his plantation while you'se all away, jes kase yer come ter 
Me meetin' yesterday.''" 

^ "Nuffin' else in de libbin yairth. Jes put us out an' lock de do' 
n' nailed up de winders, an' lef de tings in de big-road." 

"But didn't yer leave the house locked when you came here?" 
^ "Nary bit. Nebber lock de do' at all. Got no lock, ner key, ner 
' uffin' ter steal ub enny account ef enny body should want ter 
Preak in. So what I lock de do' ier? Jes lef de chillen wid one ob 
'^e neighbors, drawed do' tu, an' comes on. Dat's all." 
*' "An' he goes in an' takes de tings out? We'll hab de law ob 
im; dat we will, Berry. De law'll fotch him, pop sure. Dey can't 
reat a free man dat 'ere way no mo', specially sence de constoo- 
iiunel 'mendments. Dat dey can't." 

I So Berry became an inmate of Castle Nimbus, and the next 
^'ay that worthy proprietor went over to Louisburg to lay the 
^tatter before Captain Pardee, who was now a practising lawyer 
^1 that city. He returned at night and found Berry outside the 
«e with a banjo which he accounted among the most precious 
: his belongings, entertaining a numerous auditory with choice 
lections from an extensive repertory. 

' Berry was a consummate mimic as well as an excellent singer, 
id his fellows were never tired either of his drolleries or his 
ngs. Few escaped his mimicry, and nothing was too sacred for 
« wit. When Nimbus first came in sight, he was convulsing his 
-'■arers by imitating a well-known colored minister of the 
; lunty, giving out a hymn in the most pompous manner. 
* "De congregashun will now rise an' sing, ef yer please, the 
'^« hundred an' ferty-ferd bime." Thereupon he began to sing: 

Sinner-mans will yer go 
To de high lans' o' Hebben, 



i8o Bricks Without Straw 

Whar de sto'ms nebber blow 
An' de mild summer's gibben? 

Will yer go? will yer go? 

Will yer go, sinner-mans? 
Oh, say, sinner-mans, will yer go? 

Then, seeing Nimbus approach, he changed at once to 
political song. 

De brack man's gittin' awful rich 

The people seems ter fear, 
Alt'ough he 'pears to git in debt 

A little ebbery year. 
Ob co'se he gits de biggest kind 

Ob wages ebbery day. 
But when he comes to settle up 

Dey dwindles all away. 

Den jes fork up de little tax 

Dat's laid upon de poll. 
It's jes de tax de state exac's 

Fer habben ob a soul! 

Yer got no Ian', yer got no cash, 

Yer only got some debts 
Yer couldn't take de bankrupt law 

'Cos ye hain't go no 'assets.' 
De chillen dey mus' hev dere bread; 

De mudder's gettin' ole, 
So darkey, you mus' skirmish roun' 

An' pay up on yer poll. 

Den jes fork up de little tax, etc. 

Yer know's yer's wuked dis many a year, 

To buy de land for "Marster,' 
An now yer orter pay de tax 

So 't he kin hold it faster. 
He wuks one acre 'n ebbery ten, 

De odders idle stan'; 
So pay de tax upon yo're poll 

An' take it off bis Ian'. 

Den jes fork up de little tax, etc. 






I 



Taken At His Word i8i 

Oh! dat's de song dat some folks sing! 

Say, how d'y'e hke de soun? 
Dey say de pore man orter pay 

For walkin' on de groun'! 
When cuUud men was slaves, yer know, 

'Twas drefful hard to tax 'em; 
But jes de minnit dat dey's free, 

God save us! how dey wax 'em! 
Den jes fork up de little tax, etc. 

"What you know 'bout poll-tax, Berry?" asked Nimbus, 
;ood-naturedly, when the song was ended. "Yer hain't turned 
)olitician, hez yer?" 

"What I know 'bout poll-tax, Squar' Nimbus? Dat what yer 
x? Gad! I knows all 'bout 'em, dat I do, from who tied de dog 
oose. Who'se a better right, I'd like ter know? I'se paid k, an' 
le Marse Sykes hes paid it for me; an' den I'se hed ter pay him 
•e tax an' half a dollah for 'tendin' ter de biznis for me. An' den, 
ne time I'se been 'dieted for not payin' it, an' Marse Sykes tuk it 
' p, an' I hed ter wuk out de tax an' de costs besides. Den I'se hed 
br wuk de road ebbery yeah some eight er ten days, an' den wuk 
i igh 'bout ez many more fer my gnib while I wuz at it. Oh, I 
nows 'bout poll-tax, / does! Dar can't nobody tell a nigger wid 
ye er six chillen an' a sick wife, dat's a wukkin' by de yeah an' a 
ifettin' his pay in old clo'es an' orders — dar can't nobody teach 
\m nothin' 'bout poll-tax, honey!" 

i! There was a laugh at this which showed that his listeners 
I greed fully with the views he had expressed. 
1 The efforts to so arrange taxation as to impose as large a 
irden as possible upon the colored man, immediately after his 
nancipation, were very numerous and not unfrequently ex- 
emely subtle. The Black Codes, which were adopted by the 
[Igislamres first convened under what has gone into history as 
i e "Johnsonian" plan of reconstruction, were models of ingen- 
j as subterfuge. Among those which survived this period was the 
! surd notion of a somewhat onerous poll-tax. That a man who 



i82 Bricks Without Straw 

had been deprived of every benefit of government and of al 
means of self-support or acquisition, should at once be made the 
subject of taxation, and that a failure to list and pay such tax 
should be made an indictable offense, savored somewhat of the 
ludicrous. It seemed like taxing the privilege of poverty. 

Indeed, the poor men of the South, including the recent slaves 
were in effect compelled to pay a double poll-tax. The roads of 
that section are supported solely by the labor of those living 
along their course. The land is not taxed, as in other parts of the 
country, for the support of those highways the passability ol 
which gives it value; but the poor man who travels over it only 
on foot must give as much of his labor as may be requisite tc 
maintain it. This generally amounts to a period ranging from sb, 
to ten days of work per annum. In addition to this, he is requirecj 
to pay a poll-tax, generally about two dollars a year, which 
equivalent to at least one fourth of a month's pay. During bod 
these periods he must board himself. 

So it may safely be estimated that the average taxes paid by 
colored man equals one half or two thirds of a month's wage 
even when he has not a cent of property, and only maintains hi 
family by a constant miracle of effort which would be impossibl) 
but for the harsh training which slavery gave and which is one c 
the beneficent results of that institution. If he refuses to work tb 
road, or to pay or list the poll-tax, he may be indicted, fined, an 
his labor sold to the highest bidder, precisely as in the ol 
slave-times, to discharge the fine and pay the tax and costs (j 
prosecution. There is a grim humor about all this which did n( 
fail to strike the colored man and induce him to remark i 
absurdity, even when he did not formulate its actual character. 

A thousand things tend to enhance this absurdity and seemir 
oppression which the imagination of the thoughtful reader w 
readily supply. One is the self-evident advantage which this sta 
of things gives to the landowners. By it they are enabled to ho 
large tracts of land, only a small portion of which is cultivated 



I Taken At His Word 183 

used in any manner. By refusing to sell on reasonable terms and 
I'm small parcels, they compel the freedmen to accept the alterna- 
itive of enormous rents and oppressive terms, since starvation is 
lithe only other that remains to them. 

The men who framed these laws were experts in legislation 

s'and adepts in political economy. It would perhaps be well for 

i:ountries which are to-day wrestling with the question: "What 

i>hall we do with our poor?" to consider what was the answer the 

aSouth made to this same inquiry. There were four millions of 

people who owned no property. They were not worth a dollar 

Upiece. Of lands, tenements and hereditaments they had none. 

wife, muscle, time, and the clothes that conceal nakedness were 

dieir only estate. But they were rich in "days' works." They had 

"oeen raised to work and liked it. They were accustomed to lose 

";// their earnings, and could be relied on to endure being robbed 

jKjf a part, and hardly know that they were the subject of a new 

•xperiment in governmental ways and means. So, the dominant 

X lass simply taxed the possibilities of the freedman's future, and 

^lest he should by any means fail to recognize the soundness of 

!«his demand for tribute and neglect to regard it as a righteous 

^ xemplification of the Word, which declares that "from him that 

iiath not shall be taken away even that which he hath," they 

frugally provided: 

I I I. That the ignorant or inept citizen neglecting to list his poll 
lor taxation should be liable to indictment and fine for such 
Jefusal or neglect. 

2. That if unable to pay such tax and fine and the costs of 
Prosecution, he should be imprisoned and his labor sold to the 
lighest bidder until this claim of the State upon his poverty 
t.iould be fully redeemed. 

3. That the employer should be liable to pay the personal 
iixes of his employees, and might recoup himself from any 
! ages due to said hirelings or to become due. 

: 4. To add a further safeguard, in many instances they made 



184 Bricks Without Straw 

the exercise of the elective franchise dependent upon the pay- 
ment of such tax. 

Should the effete monarchies of the Old World ever deign to! 
glance at our civil polity, they will learn that taxation is the only 
sure and certain cure for pauperism, and we may soon look for! 
their political economists to render thanks to the "friends" of thej 
former slave for this discovery of a specific for the most ancient 
of governmental ills! 

The song that has been given shows one of the views which a 
race having little knowledge of political economy took of this 
somewhat peculiar but perhaps necessary measure of governmen- 
tal finance. 

The group broke up soon after Nimbus arrived, and Berry, 
following him upon the porch said, as he laid his banjo in the 
window: 

"Wal, an' what did de Cap'n say 'bout my case 'gin Marsf 
Granville Sykes?" 

"He said you could indict him, an' hev him fined by de court e 
he turned yer off on 'count ob yer perlitical principles." 

"Bully fer de Cap'n!" said Berry, "dat's what I'll do, straighi 
away. Yah, yah! won't dat er be fun, jes makin' ole Mahs'r tro 
up ter de lick-log fer meanness ter a nigger? Whoop! h'yer sh 
goes!" and spreading his hands he made "a cart-wheel" and rolle 
on his outstretched hands and feet half way to the gate, and the 
turned a handspring back again, to show his approval of th 
advice given by the attorney, 

"An' he says," continued Nimbus, who had looked seriously 
at his kinsman's antics, "dat yer can sue him an' git yer wages fr 
de whole year, ef yer kin show dat he put yer off widout goC 
reason." 

"Der ain't no mite ob trouble 'bout dat ar, nary mite," sa 
Berry, confidently. "You knows what sort uv a wuk-hand I is 
de crap, Bre'er Nimbus?" 

"Yes, I knows dat," was the reply; "but de cap'n sez dat 






j Taken At His Word 185 

naout take two or tree year ter git dese cases fru de court, an' dar 
nust, of co'se, be a heap ob cost an' trouble 'bout 'em." 
"An' he's right tu', Bre'er Nimbus," said Berry seriously. 
"Dat's so, Berry," answered Nimbus, "an on' account ob dat, 
jm' der fac' dat yer hain't got no money an' can't afford ter resk 
)le wages dat yer family needs ter lib on, an' 'cause 'twould make 
,mart ob feelin' an' yer don't stan' well fer a fa'r show afore de 
;:ourt an' jury, kase of yer color, he sez yer'd better jes thank de 
.o'd fer gittin' off ez well ez yer hev, an' try ter look out fer 
jireakers in de futur. He sez ez how it's all wrong an' hard an' 
,(iean an' all dat, but he sez, tu, dat yer ain't in no sort ob fix ter 
lake a fight on't wid Marse Sykes. Now, what you think, 
Jerry?" 

J The person addressed twirled his narrow-brimmed felt hat 
ipon his finger for a time and then said, looking suddenly up at 
„ie other: 

"Uncle Nimbus, Berry's right smart ob a fool, but damn me ef 

• don't b'lieve de Cap'n's in de right on't. What you say, now?" 

([[ Nimbus had seated himself and was looking toward the dar- 

iening west with a gloomy brow. After a moment's silence he 

J^iid: 

[) "I'se mighty feared yer both right, Bre'er Berry. But it certain 
jjf' a mighty easy way ter git wuk fer nothin', jes ter wait till de 
pap's laid by an' den run a man off kase he happens ter go ter a 
plitical meetin'! 'Pears like tain't much more freedom dan we 
^d in ole slave- times." 

.. "Did it ebber 'ccur ter you. Uncle Nimbus," said Berry, very 
jjjOughtfully, "dat dis yer ting freedom waz a durn curus affair 
ur we cullud people, ennyhow?" 

" "Did it ever? Wal, now, I should tink it hed, an' hit 'ccurs ter 
e now dat it's growin' quarer an' quarer ebbery day. Though 
e had less on't ter bear an' puzzle over than a-most enny on ye, 
1 1 hez, I don't know what it'll wuk out. 'Liab sez de Lord's a 
in' His own wuk in His own way, which I 'specs is true; but 



i86 Bricks Without Straw 

hit's a big job, an' He's got a quare way ob gittin' at it, an' seems i 
ter be a-takin' His own time fer it, tu. Dat's my notion." , 

It was no doubt childish for these two simple-minded colored 
men to take this gloomy view of their surroundings and their , 
fumre. They should have realized that the fact that their privi- 
leges were insecure and their rights indefensible was their own 
misfortune, perhaps even their fault. They should have remem-| 
bered that the susceptibilities of that race among whom their lotj 
had been cast by the compulsion of a strange providence, wercj 
such as to be greatly irritated by anything like a manly and| 
independent exercise of rights by those who had been so long 
accounted merely a superior sort of cattle. They should not have, 
been at all surprised to find their race helpless and hopeless 
before the trained and organized power of the whites, controlled 
by the instinct of generations and animated by the sting of 
defeat. ; 

All this should have been clear and plain to them, and the] 
should have looked with philosophic calmness on the abstrac 
rights which the Nation had conferred and solemnly guarantee* 
to them, instead of troubling themselves about the concretJ 
wrongs they fancied they endured. Why should Berry Lawsoi; 
care enough about attending a political meeting to risk provok 
ing his employer's displeasure by so doing; or why, after bein^ 
discharged, should he feel angry at the man who had merel; 
enforced the words of his own contract? He was a free man; b 
signed the contract, and the courts were open to him as they wer 
to others, if he was wronged. What reason was there for con: 
plaint or apprehension, on his part? 

Yet many a wiser head than that of Berry Lawson, or eve 
that of his more formnate kinsman, the many-named Nimbu 
has been sorely puzzled to understand how ignorance and po^ i 
erty and inexperience should maintain the right, preserve an i 
protect themselves against opposing wisdom, wealth and mal 
cious skill, according to the spirit and tenor of the Reconstructic 



I Taken At His Word 187 

i^cts. But it is a problem which ought to trouble no one, since it 
as been enacted and provided by the Nation that all such 
>ersons shall have all the rights and privileges of citizens. That 
•bould suffice. 

' However, the master-key to the feeling which these colored 
'^len noted and probed in their quiet evening talk was pro- 
Haimed aloud by the county newspaper which, commenting on 
'le meeting at Red Wing and the dismissal of a large number of 
'^Dlored people who attended it in opposition to the wish of their 
^uployers, said: "Our people are willing that the colored man 
f'lould have all his rights of person and of property; we desire to 
i'-romote his material welfare; but when he urges his claim to 
'Olitical right, he offers a flagrant insult to the white race. We 
■ave no sympathy to waste on negro-politicians or those who 
'mpathize with and encourage them." * 

' The people of Horsford county had borne a great deal from 

-;gro-domination. New men had come into office by means of 

~)lored votes, and the old set to whom office had become a sort 

'Plf perquisite were deprived thereby of this inherited right. The 

"•'ry presence of Nimbus and a few more who like him were 

^'•osperous, though in a less degree, had been a constant menace 

\ the peace of a community which looked with peculiar jealousy 

jbon the colored man in his new estate. This might have been 

'^idured with no evil results had their prosperity been attended 

/ith that humility which should characterize a race so lately 

*ted from servitude to liberty. It was the "impudent" assertion 

'1 their "rights" that so aggravated and enraged the people 

iiong whom they dwelt. It was not so much the fact of their 

T'.ving valuable possessions, and being entitled to pay for their 

pot, that was deemed such an outrage on the part of the 

Jlored race, but that they should openly and offensively use 

3se possessions to assert those rights and continually hold 

^iguage which only "white men" had a right to use. This was 



* Taken from the Patriot-Democrat, Clinton, La. Oct. 1876. 



i88 Bricks Without Straw 

more than a community, educated as the Southerners had been, 
could be expected peaceably to endure. 

As a farmer, a champion tobacco-grower and curer, as the 
most prosperous man of his race in that section, Horsford was 
not without a certain pride in Nimbus; but when he asserted the 
right of his people to attend a political meeting without let or 
hindrance, losing only from their wages as hirelings the price of 
the time thus absent, he was at once marked down as a "danger- 
ous" man. And when it was noised abroad that he had proposec 
that all the colored men of the county should band together to 
protect themselves against this evil, as he chose to regard it, he 
was at once branded not only as "dangerous" but as a "desperate' 
and "pestiferous" nigger, instead of being considered merely 
"sassy," as theretofore. 

So this meeting and its results had the effect to make Nimbi 
far more active in political matters than he had ever been before; 
since he honestly believed that their rights could only be con 
served by their political co-operation. To secure this he travelle<j 
about the country all the time he could spare from his crofj 
visiting the different plantations and urging his political friend '■ 
to stand firm and not be coaxed or driven away from tb 
performance of their political duty. By this means he becam i 
very "obnoxious" to the "best people" of Horsford, and precipii 
rated a catastrophe that might easily have been avoided had hi 
been willing to enjoy his own good fortune, instead of clamorin, 
about the collective rights of his race. i 



^ IS] • Motes in the Sunshine 



% Mollie Ainslie's third year of teacher's hfe was drawing near 
jls close. She had promised her brother to remain at the South 
■jring that time in order that she might escape the perils of their 
'(itive climate. She was of vigorous constitution but of slight 
?bild, and he dreaded lest the inherited scourge should take an 
'eradicable hold upon her system. She had passed her school- 
-rl life with safety; but he rightly judged that a few years in the 
'';nial climate where she then was would do very much toward 
habling her to resist the approaches of disease. 
'.. The work in which she had been engaged had demanded all 
ter energies and commanded all her devotion. Commencing with 
^e simplest of rudimentary training she had carried some of her 
-ipils along until a fair English education had been achieved. 
I Qe of these pupils had already taken the place vacated a few 
Months before by Lucy Ellison, since which time Mollie had 
Picupied alone the north rooms of the old hostelry — a colored 

mily who occupied the other portion serving as protectors, and 
ringing her meals to her own apartments. A friend had spent a 
Piirtion of this time with her, a schoolmate whose failing health 
:^:ested the wisdom of the condition her dying brother had 
fiposed in regard to herself. As the warm weather approached 
jts friend had returned to her New England home, and Mollie 
I Inslie found herself counting the days when she might also take 

Ir flight. 

Her work had not grown uninteresting, nor had she lost any 
'her zeal for the unfortunate race she had striven to uplift; but 

r heart was sick of the terrible isolation that her position 
; ced upon her. She had never once thought of making compan- 
■ IS, in the ordinary sense, of those for whom she labored. They 
1 i been so entirely foreign to her early life that, while she 



189 



190 Bricks Without Straw 

labored unremittingly for their advancement and entertained for 
many of them the most ajffectionate regard, there was never any 
inclination to that friendly intimacy which would have been sure 
to arise if her pupils had been of the same race as herself. She 
recognized their right most fully to careful and polite considera- 
tion; she had striven to cultivate among them gentility of deport- 
ment; but she had longed with a hungry yearning for friendly 
white faces, and the warm hands and hearts of friendly associates. 

Her chief recreation in this impalpable loneliness — this Chil- 
Ion of the heart in which she had been bound so long — ^was iq 
daily rides upon her horse. Midnight. Even in her New Englanc 
home she had been passionately fond of a horse, and while ai 
school had been carefully trained in horsemanship, being a primq 
favorite with the old French riding-master who had charge 0: 
that branch of education in the seminary of her native town 
Midnight, coming to her from the dying hand of her onlj 
brother, had been to her a sacred trust and a pet of priceles 
value. All her pride and care had centered upon him, and neve 
had horse received more devoted attention. As a result, horse am 
rider had become very deeply attached to each other. Each kne^ 
and appreciated the other's good qualities and varying moodsi 
For many months the petted animal had shown none of tha 
savageness with which his owner had before been compelle 
occasionally to struggle. He had grown sleek and round, but ha^ 
lost his viciousness, so far as she was concerned, and obeyed he 
lightest word and gesture with a readiness that had made him 
subject of comment in the country around, where the "Yanke 
school-marm" and her black horse had become somewhat notec 

There was one road that had alv/ays been a favorite with th 
horse from the very first. Whenever he struck that he pressC' 
steadily forward, turning neither to the right or left until 1 
came to a rocky ford five miles below, which his rider had nev( 
permitted him to cross, but from which he was always turnCj 






Motes in the Sunshine 191 

3:ack with difficulty — at first with a troublesome display of tem- 
per, and at the last, with evident reluctance. 
w It was in one of her most lonely moods, soon after the 
Ifiicidents we have just narrated, that Mollie Ainslie set out on 
['ne of her customary rides. In addition to the depression which 
pas incident to her own situation, she was also not a little 
jjiisturbed by the untoward occurrences affecting those for whom 
he had labored so long. She had never speculated much in 
J gard to the future of the freedmen, because she had considered 
as assured. Growing to womanhood in the glare of patriotic 
sarfare, she had the utmost faith in her country's honor and 
I'ower. To her undiscriminating mind the mere fact that this 
bnor and power were pledged to the protection and elevation of 
'e negro had been an all-sufficient guarantee of the accomplish- 
rent of that pledge. In fact, to her mind, it had taken on the 
pality and certainty of a fact already accomplished. She had 
fcoked forward to their prosperity as an event not to be doubted. 
HI. her view Nimbus and Eliab Hill were but feeble types of what 
f|e race would "in a few brief years" accomplish for itself. She 
Mieved that the prejudice that prevailed against the autonomy 
Hi the colored people would be suppressed, or prevented from 
?irmful action by the national power, until the development of 
j^'e blacks should have shown them to be of such value in the 
I immunity that the old-time antipathy would find itself without 
i!od to exist upon longer. 

frShe had looked always upon the rosy side, because to her the 
tantry for which her brother and his fellows had fought and 
hd was the fairest and brightest thing upon earth. There might 
ft spots upon the sun's face, but none were possible upon her 
tontry's escutcheon. So she had dreamed and had fondly pic- 
red herself as doing both a patriot's and a Christian's duty in 
'- work in which she had been engaged. She felt less of anger 
'd apprehension with regard to the bitter and scornful whites 



192 Bricks Without Straw 

than of pity and contempt for them, because they could not 
appreciate the beauty and grandeur of the Nation of which they 
were an unwilhng part, and of the future that lay just before. She 
regarded all there had been of violence and hate as the mere 
puerile spitefulness of a subjugated people. She had never ana- 
lyzed their condition or dreamed that they would ever be recog- 
nized as a power which might prove dangerous either to the 
freedman's rights or to the Nation itself. 

The recent events had opened her eyes. She found that, un- 
known to herself, knowledge had forced itself upon her mind. As 
by a flash the fact stood revealed to her consciousness that the| 
colored man stood alone. The Nation had withdrawn its armj 
The flag still waved over him, but it was only as a symbol oi 
sovereignty renounced — of power discarded. Naked privileges 
had been conferred, but the right to enforce their recognition had 
been abandoned. The weakness and poverty of the recent slave 
was pitted alone and unaided against the wealth and power anc 
knowledge of the master. It was a revelation of her own though 
to herself, and she was stunned and crushed by it. 

She was no statesman, and did not comprehend anything o 
those grand policies whose requirements over-balance all consid) 
erations of individual right — in comparison with which races an^ 
nations are but sands upon the shore of Time. She little realizeij 
how grand a necessity lay at the back of that movement whic) 
seemed to her so heartless and inexcusable. She knew, of course 
vaguely and weakly, that the Fathers made a Constitution O' 
which our government was based. She did not quite understand 
its nature, which was very strange, since she had often heard :' 
expounded, and as a matter of duty had read with care several ( 
those books which tell us all about it. 

She had heard it called by various names in her far Nc 
England home by men whom she loved and venerated, an' 
whose wisdom and patriotism she could not doubt. They h£ 
called it "a matchless inspiration" and "a mass of compromises 



' Motes in the Sunshine 193 

j'the charter of liberty" and "a league with Hell;" "the tocsin of 
5 iberty" and "the manacle of the slave." She felt quite sure that 
iiobler-minded, braver-hearted men than those who used these 
vords had never lived, yet she could not understand the thing of 
fvhich they spoke so positively and so passionately. She did not 
(juestion the wisdom or the patriotism of the Fathers who had 
[oropounded this enigma. She thought they did the best they 
mew, and knew the best that was at that time to be known. 
'■} She had never quite believed them to be inspired, and she was 
i ure they had no models to work after. Greece and Rome were 
')iot republics in the sense of our day, and in their expanded 
jjrowth did not profess to be, at any time; Switzerland and San 
jyEarino were too limited in extent to afford any valuable exam- 
ples; Venice while professedly a republic had been as unique and 
^^nimitable as her own island home. Then there were a few 
experiments here and there, tentative movements barren of re- 
jults, and that was all that the civilized world had to offer of 
';»ractical knowledge of democracy at that time. Beyond this were 
he speculations of philosophers and the dreams of poets. Or 
perhaps the terms should be reversed, for the dreams were 
ifift-times more real and consistent than the lucubrations. From 
shese she did not doubt that our ancient sages took all the 
i|/isdom they could gather and commingled it with the riper 
j;j:nowledge of their own harsh experience. 

j But yet she could not worship the outcome. She knew that 

ij'ranklin was a great man and had studied electricity very pro- 

l^undly, for his day; but there are ten thousand unnoted opera- 

i'^^rs to-day who know more of its properties, power and manage- 

5[ient than he ever dreamed of. She did not know but it might be 

with regard to free government. The silly creature did not 

;now that while the world moves in all things else, it stands still 

r goes backward in governmental affairs. She never once 

j lought that while in science and religion humanity is making 

i ^upendous strides, in government as in art, it turns ever to the 



194 Bricks Without Straw 

model of the antique and approves the wisdom only of the 
ancient. 

So it was that she understood nothing of the sacredness o: 
right which attaches to that impalpable and indestructible thing, 
a State of the American Union — that immortal product of morta 
wisdom, that creature which is greater than its creator, that part 
which is more than the whole, that servant which is lord anc 
master also. If she had been given to metaphysical researches, she 
would have found much pleasure in tracing the queer involutionsj 
of that network of wisdom that our forefathers devised, whic 
their sons have labored to explain, and of which the sword had| 
already cut some of the more difficult knots. Not being a states- 
man or a philosopher, she could only wonder and grow sad in; 
contemplating the future that she saw impending over those fo: 
whom she had labored so long. 



x8 • In the Path of the Storm 






While Mollie Ainslie thought of these things with forebodin. 
her steed had turned down his favorite road, and was pressir 
onward with that persistency which characterizes an intelligei 
horse having a definite aim in view. The clouds were gatherir 
behind her, but she did not notice them. The horse pressed ( 
and on. Closer and closer came the storm. The road grew da 
amid the clustering oaks which overhung its course. The thund 
rolled in the distance and puffs of wind tossed the heavy-leaf 
branches as though the trees begged for mercy from the relet 



I 



i In the Path of the Storm 195 

fss blast. A blinding flash, a fierce, sharp peal, near at hand, 

ivoke her from her reverie. The horse broke into a quick gallop, 

id glancing back she saw a wall of black cloud, flame-lighted 

id reverberant, and felt the cold breath of the summer storm 

:*ime sweeping down upon her as she sped away. 

i'i She saw that k would be useless to turn back. Long before she 

•uld reach any shelter in that direction she would be drenched. 

^;ie knew she was approaching the river, but remembering that 

!^e had noticed some fine-looking houses just on the other side, 

■'e decided that she would let the horse have his own way, and 

^ ply at one of these for shelter. She was sure that no one would 

'ny her that in the face of such a tornado as was raging behind 

- r. The horse flew along as if a winged thing. The spirit of the 

:)rm seemed to have entered into him, or else the thunder's 

ice awakened memories of the field of battle, and for once his 

ier found herself powerless to restrain his speed or direct his 

urse. He laid back his ears, and with a short, sharp neigh 

shed onward with a wild tremor of joy at the mad race with 

nd and storm. The swaying tree-tops waved them on with wild 

iticulations. The lightning and the thunder added wings to the 

ing steed. 

Just before reaching the river bank they had to pass through a 
I 'etch of tall pines, whose dark heads were swaying to and fro 
|itil they almost met above the narrow road, making it so dark 
Mow that the black horse grew dim in the shadow, while the 
|iint trunks creaked and groaned and the leaves hissed and 
{?cibed as the wind swept through them. The resinous fragrance 
iiingled with the clayey breath of the pursuing storm. The 
^-Dst-like trunks stood out against the lightning flashes like bars 
I'lore the path of flame. She no longer tried to control her horse. 
Icween the flashes, his iron feet filled the rocky road with 
s* rks of fire. He reached the ford and dashed knee-deep into the 
cKk, swift stream, casting a cool spray around him before he 
cpcked his speed. Then he halted for an instant, tossed his head 



196 Bricks Without Straw 

as if to give the breeze a chance to creep beneath his flowing 
mane, cast a quick glance back at his rider, and throwing out his 1 
muzzle uttered a long, loud neigh that seemed like a joyful hail, 1 
and pressed on with quick, careful steps, picking his way along | 
the ledge of out-cropping granite which constituted the ford, as if ij 
traversing a well-remembered causeway, \ 

The water grew deeper and darker; the rider reached down 
and gathered up her dark habit and drew her feet up close 
beneath her. The current grew swifter. The water climbed the 
horse's polished limbs. It touched his flanks and foamed andi 
dashed about his rugged breast. Still he picked his way among: 
the rocks with eager haste, neighing again and again, the joy- 
ringing neighs of the home-coming steed. The surging water rose? 
about his massive shoulders and the rider drew herself still closer^ 
up on the saddle, clinging to bow and mane and giving him the 
rein, confident in his prowess and intelligence, wondering at his 
eagerness, yet anxious for his footing in the dashing current. Thci 
wind lifted the spray and dashed it about her. The black cloudi 
above was fringed with forked lightning and resonant with 
swift-succeeding peals of thunder. The big drops began to fall 
hissing into the gurgling waters. Now and then they splashed on 
her hands and face and shot through her close-fitting habit like 
icy bolts. The brim of the low felt hat she wore and its dari 
plume were blown about her face. Casting a hurried glancf 
backward, she saw the grayish-white storm-sheet come rushin^i 
over the sloping expanse of surging pines, and heard its dul; 
heavy roar over the rattle of the aerial artillery which echoed an( 
re-echoed above her. 

And now the wind shifted, first to one point and then t( 
another. Now it swept down the narrow valley through whid 
the stream ran; now it dashed the water in her face, and anon J; 
seemed about to toss her from her seat and hurl her over he: 
horse's head. She knew that the fierce storm would strike he 
before she could reach any place of shelter. The wild excitemer 



I 



i In the Path of the Storm 197 

ii a struggle with the elements flamed up in her face and lighted 
Itr eyes with joy. She might have been a viking's daughter as her 
nr hair blew over her flushed face, while she patted her good 
leed and laughed aloud for very glee at the thought of conflict 
sith the wild masterful storm and the cool gurgling rapid which 
;:r horse breasted so gallantly. 

• There was a touch of fun, too, in the laugh, and in the arch 
learning of her eyes, as she thought of the odd figure which she 
fiide, perched thus upon the saddle in mid-river, blown and 
E;sed by the wind, and fleeing from the storm. Her rides were 
be interludes of her isolated life, and this storm was a part of the 
Jia. She enjoyed it as the vigourous pleasure-seeker always en- 
\ijs the simulation of danger. 

ilThe water shoaled rapidly as they neared the farther shore. 
' le black horse mounted swiftly to the bank, still pressing on 
'fth unabated eagerness. She leaned over and caught up the 
i^rrup, thrust her foot into it, regained her seat and seized the 
]:,ns, as with a shake and a neigh he struck into a long easy 
f^llop. 
"Go!" she said, as she shook the reins. The horse flew swiftly 
i-ing while she swayed lightly from side to side as he rose and 
li with great sinewy strides. She felt him bound and quiver 
tpiieath her, but his steps were as though the black, corded limbs 
We springs of steel. Her pride in the noble animal she rode 
d;rcame her fear of the storm, which followed swifter than they 
f'l She looked eagerly for a by-path leading to some farmhouse, 
v.: the swift-settling darkness of the summer night hid them 
f tn her eager glance, if any there were. Half a mile from the 
f"d, and the storm overtook them — a wall of wind-driven rain, 
■VJich dashed and roared about them, drenching the rider to the 
sti in an instant. In a moment the red-clay road became the bed 
C'a murky torrent. The horse's hoofs, which an instant before 
eeoed on the hard-beaten track, splashed now in the soft mud 
afj, threw the turbid drops over her dripping habit and into her 



198 Bricks Without Straw 

storm-washed face. A quarter of a mile more, and the cold 
streams poured down her back and chilled her slight frame to 
the marrow. Her hands were numb and could scarce cling to the 
dripping reins. Tears came into her eyes despite herself. Still the 
wild cloud-burst hurled its swift torrents of icy rain upon them. 
She could scarcely see her horse's head, through the gray, chilly 
storm-sheet. 

"Whoa! whoa, Midnight!" she cried, in tremulous tones 
through her chattering teeth and white, trembling lips. All her: 
gay exultant courage had been drenched and chilled out of her. 
She tried to check his stride with a loose convulsive clutch at the 
reins as she peered about with blinded eyes for a place of shelter. 
The horse shook his head with angry impatience, neighed againj 
clasped the bit in his strong teeth, stretched his neck still further 
and covered the slippery ground with still swifter strides, 
hundred yards more and he turned into a narrow lane at the 
right, between two swaying oaks, so quickly as almost to unseai 
his practiced rider, and with neigh after neigh dashed down to a 
great, rambling, old farm-house just visible under the trees at the 
foot of the lane, two hundred yards away. The way was rougt 
and the descent sharp, but the horse did not slacken his speedi 
She knew it was useless to attempt to check him, and only clun^i 
to the saddle pale with fear as he neared the high gate whicli 
closed its course. As he rose with a grand lift to take the leap sh^ 
closed her eyes in terror. Easy and swift as a bird's flight was thd; 
leap with which the strong- limbed horse cleared the high pal| 
ings and lighted on the soft springy turf within; another bouncj 
or two and she heard a sharp, strong voice which rang above the 
storm with a tone of command that betrayed no doubt of obedi 
ence: 

"Whoa, Satan! Stand, sir!" 

The fierce horse stopped instantly. Mollie Ainslie was throwi 
heavily forward, clasped by a strong arm and borne upon th 
piazza. When she opened her eyes she saw the torrents pourinf 



Like and Unlike 199 

.from the eaves, the rain beating itself into spray upon the ground 
without, the black horse steaming and quivering at the steps of 
i]fthe porch, and Hesden Le Moyne gazing anxiously down into her 
:face. The water dripped from her garments and ran across the 
; porch. She shook as if in an ague-fit. She could not answer the 
li'earnest inquiries that fell from his lips. She felt him chafing her 
chill, numbed hands, and then the world was dark, and she knew 
jiQO more of the kindly care which was bestowed upon her. 



^9 • Like and Unlike 

lif When she awoke to consciousness she was lying on a bed in an 
I'lpartment which was a strange compound of sitting- and sleep- 
f ng-room. The bed stood in a capacious alcove which seemed to 
iiave been built on as an afterthought. The three sides were 
Ikindows, in the outer of which were tastefully arranged numer- 
ous flowering plants, some of which had clambered up to the 

reiling and hung in graceful festoons above the bed. The win- 
|(jdow-shades were so arranged as to be worked by cords, which 
*aung within easy reach of one lying there. The night had not 
puUy come, but a lamp was burning at the side of the bed yet 
; oeyond its head-board, so that its rays lit up the windows and the 

^reen trailing vines, but did not fall upon the bed. In an invalid's 
lihair drawn near the bedside, a lady well past the middle age but 
with a face of singular sweetness and refinement was watching 
jiind directing the efforts which were being made for the resuscita- 



200 Bricks Without Straw 

tion of the fainting girl by two servant women, who were busily 
engaged in chafing her hands and making warm applications to 
her chilled limbs. 

As she opened her eyes they took in all these things, but shej 
could not at once remember what had happened or where she; 
was. This sweet vision of a home interior was so different frorr 
the low, heavy-beamed rooms and little diamond-paned window; 
of the Ordinary, even after all her attempts to make it cosy, tha 
she seemed to have awakened in fairy land. She wondered dull 
why she had never trained ivies and Madeira vines over thos 
dark beams, and blushed at the thought that so simple a devic, 
had never occurred to her. She lay motionless until she ha^ 
recalled the incidents of the day. She had recognized Mr. 
Moyne at once, and she knew by instinct that the graceful ladj 
who sat beside her was she who had written her the only word 
sympathy or appreciation she had ever received from one of h| 
own sex in the South. She was anxious for a better view ai] 
turned toward her. 

"Ah, here are you, my dear! " said a soft, low voice, as the li^ 
fell upon her opened eyes. "Move me up a little, Maggie," to o; 
of the servants. "We are glad to see you coming around aga.. 
Don't move, dear," she continued, as she laid her thin soft had 
upon the plump one of the reclining girl. "You are amog 
friends. The storm and the ride were too much for you, and y\i 
fainted for a little while. That is all. There is no trouble nc7. 
You weren't hurt, were you?" she asked anxiously. (f 

"No," said the other, wonderingly. | 

"We are glad of that," was the reply. "You are exhausted,)f 
course, but if you do not get cold you will soon be all ript. 
Maggie," she continued, to the servant, "tell Mr. Hesden to brig j 
in that hot toddy now. He had better put the juice of a lemorin ) 
it, too. Miss Ainslie may not be accustomed to taking it. I ip 5 
Mrs. Le Moyne, I forgot to say," she added, turning to ier j, 
unintended guest, "and Hesden, that is my son, tells me that ou \^ 



I Like and Unlike 201 

! are Miss Ainslie, the brave young teacher at Red Wing whom I 
have long wished to see. I am really glad that chance, or Hes- 
den's old war horse Satan, brought you here, or 1 am afraid I 
h should never have had that pleasure. This is Hesden," she con- 
fitinued, nodding toward him as he entered with a small silver 
c waiter on which was a steaming pitcher and a delicate glass. "He 
/has been my nurse so long that he thinks no one can prepare a 
n draught for a sick person so well as he, and I assure you that I 
!|quite agree with his notion. You have met before, I believe. Just 
otake a good dose of this toddy and you will be better directly, 
i' You got a terrible drenching, and I was afraid you would have a 
iccongestive chill when they brought you in here as white as a 
i sheet with your teeth chattering like castanets." 
t Hesden Le Moyne filled the glass with the steaming decoction 
iknd held the salver toward her. She took it and tried to drink. 
il "Hand me the waiter, Hesden," said his mother, reprovingly, 
f "and raise her head. Don't you see that Miss Ainslie cannot drink 
lying there. I never saw you so stupid, my son. I shall have to 
i^jgrow worse again soon to keep you from getting out of practice 
[p entirely." 

aB] Thus reproached, Hesden Le Moyne put his arm hesitatingly 
^oeneath the pillow, raised the flushed face upon it and supported 
Kijjihe young lady while she quaffed the hot drink. Then he laid her 
jirrasily down, smoothed the pillow with a soft instinctive move- 
DJlmaent, poured out a glass of the toddy which he offered to his 
iQOther, and then, handing the waiter to the servant, leaned over 
I lis mother with a caressing movement and said: 
sijl: "You must look out, little mother. Too much excitement will 
ligiiot do for you. You must not let Miss Ainslie's unexpected call 
bii'iisturb you." 

aOJK "No indeed, Hesden," she said, as she looked up at him 
iratefully, "I feel really glad of any accident that could bring her 
nder our roof, now that I am satisfied that she is to experience 
to harm from her stormy ride. She will be all right presently. 



202 Bricks Without Straw 

and we will have supper served here as usual. You may tell 
Laura that she need be in no haste." 

Having thus dismissed her son she turned to her guest and 
said: 

"I have been an invalid so long that our household is all 
ordered with regard to that fact. I am seldom able to be taken 
out to dinner, and we have got into the habit of having a late 
supper here, just Hesden, his little boy, and I, and to-night we will 
have the table set by the bedside and you will join us." 

The sudden faint was over; the toddy had sent the blood 
tingling through the young girl's veins. The rdle of the invalid | 
was an unaccustomed one for her to play, and the thought of| 
supping in bed was peculiarly distasteful to her self-helping j 
Northern training. It was not long before she began to manifesti 
impatience. 

"Are you in pain, dear?" asked the good lady, noticing with 
the keen eye of the habitual invalid her restive movements. 

"No, indeed," was the reply. "I am not at all sick. It was only a 
little faint. Really, Mrs. Le Moyne, I would rather get up than liq 
here." 

"Oh, lie still," said the elder lady, cheerfully. "The room 
hardly looks natural unless the bed is occupied. Besides," she 
added with a light laugh, "you will afford me an excellen 
opportunity to study effects. You seem to me very like what 
must have been when I was first compelled to abandon activ 
life. You are very nearly the same size and of much the sam' 
complexion and cast of features. You will pardon an old lady fo 
saying it, I am sure. Lest you should not, I shall be compelled t 
add that I was considered something of a beauty when I w£ 
young. Now, you shall give an idea of how I have looked i 
all the long years that couch has been my home. I assure you 
shall watch you very critically, for it has been my pride to mal< 
my invalid life as pleasant to myself and as little disagreeable f 
others as I could. Knowing that I could never be anything else. 



I Like and Unlike 203 

!i devised every plan I could to make myself contented and to 
become at least endurable to my family." 

J, "Everyone knows how well you have succeeded, Mrs, Le 
iMoyne," said the young girl. "It must indeed have been a sad and 
:i burdened life, and it seems to me that you have contrived to 
I make your sick room a perfect paradise." 

s "Yes, yes," said the other, sadly, "it is beautiful. Those who 
ii loved me have been very indulgent and very considerate, too. 
Not only every idea of my own has been carried into effect, but 
cthey have planned for me, too. That alcove was an idea of my 
lihusband's. I think that the sunlight pouring in at those windows 
ihas done more to prolong my life than anything else. I did not 
-'.think, when thirty years ago I took to my bed, that I should have 
survived him so long — so long — almost eight years. He was 
considerably older than I, but I never looked to outlive him, 
Minever. 

, "That lamp-stand and little book-rack," she continued, with 
I'jthe garrulity of the invalid when discoursing of his own affairs, 
li'were Hesden's notions, as were many other things in the room. 
The flowers I had brought in, one by one, to satisfy my hunger 
::or the world without. In the winter I have many more. Hesden 
inakes the room a perfect conservatory, then. They have come to 
be very dear to me, as you may well suppose. That ivy now, over 
fihe foot of the bed, I have watched it from a little slip not a 
ringer high. It is twenty-seven years old." 

te So she would have run on, no one knows to what length, had 
tiot the servant entered to set the table for supper. Under her 
Saistress' directions she was about to place it beside the bed, when 
she young girl sprang into a sitting posture and with flaming 
iliheeks cried out: 

\i "Please, Mrs. Le Moyne, I had rather not lie here. I am quite 
cvell — just as well as ever, and I wish you would let me get up." 
J||l "But how can you, dear?" was the reply. "Your clothes are 
I (laying in the kitchen. They were completely drenched." 



204 Bricks Without Straw 

"Sure enough," answered Miss Ainslie. "I had forgotten that." 

She laid herself down resignedly as the invalid said: 

"If Hesden's presence would annoy you, he shall not come. I 
only thought it might be pleasanter for you not to be confined to 
the conversation of a crippled old woman. Besides, it is his habit, 
and I hardly know what he would do if he had to eat his supper 
elsewhere." 

"Oh, certainly, I would not wish to disturb your usual arrange- 
ment," answered Mollie, "but — " she began, and then stopped 
with some signs of confusion. 

"But what, my dear?" asked the elder lady, briskly. "Do you 
mean that you are not accustomed as I am to invalidism, anc 
hardly like the notion of supping in bed as an introduction td 
strangers? Well, I dare say it would be annoying, and if you 
think you are quite well enough to sit up, I reckon something 
better may be arranged." ! 

"I assure you, Mrs. Le Moyne," said the other, "that I am quit< 
well, but pray do not let me make you any trouble." I 

"Oh, no trouble at all, dear; only you will have to wear one o) 
my gowns now many years old. I thought they were very prett 
then, I assure you. I should be very glad to see them worn again 
There are few who could wear them at all; but I think the' 
would both fit and suit you. You are like enough to me to be 
daughter. Here, you Maggie!" 

She called the servant, and gave some directions which n 
suited in her bringing in several dresses of an ancient pattern bi 
exquisite texture, and laying them upon the bed. 

"You will have to appear in full dress, my dear, for I have r 
other gowns that would be at all becoming," said Mrs. Le Moyn 

"How very beautiful!" said the girl sitting up in the be, 
gazing at the dainty silks and examining their quaint patten, 
"But really, Mrs. Le Moyne " jH 

"Now, please oblige me by making no more objection 
interrupted that lady. "Indeed," she added, shaking her fin^r 



1 



Like and Unlike 205 

threateningly at her guest, "I will not listen to any more. The fit 
has seized me now to have you sit opposite me at the table. It 
will be like facing my own youth; for now that I look at you 
more closely, you seem wonderfully like me. Don't you think so, 
; Maggie?" 

" 'Deed I do," said the servant, "an' dat's jes what Laura was a 
sayin' ter me when we done fotch de young lady in here in a 
; faint. She sez ter me, sez she, 'Maggie, ebber you see anybody 
; look so much like de Mistis made young again?' " 

"Hush, Maggie," said her mistress, gaily; "don't you see how 
pthe young lady is blushing, while it is the poor, faded woman 
ihere in the chair who ought to blush at such a compliment?" 
! And indeed the bright flushed face with its crown of soft 
n'golden hair escaped from its customary bondage, tossing in sunny 
itendrils about the delicate brow and rippling in waves of light 
over her shoulders, was a picture which any woman past the 
.middle life might well blush and sigh to recognize as the coun- 
terpart of her youth. The two women looked at each other and 
both laughed at the admiration each saw in the other's glance. 
j[j "Well," said MoUie, as she sank smilingly on her pillow, "I see 
|i[ must submit. You will have your own way." 
ti' She raised her arm above her head and toyed with a leaf of the 
jivy which hung in graceful festoons about the head-board. As she 
Hid so the loose-sleeved wrapper which had been flung about her 
vhen her own drenched clothing was removed, fell down almost 
Jio her shoulder and revealed to the beauty-worshipping watcher 
yj the bedside an arm of faultless outline, slender, pink-tinged, 
|olump and soft. When she had toyed lazily for a moment with 
f j^ihe ivy, she dropped her arm listlessly down upon the bed. It fell 
Is tipon one of the dresses which lay beside her. 
(jjLi "Ah, thank you!" exclaimed Mrs. Le Moyne. "You have re- 
•jiieved me greatly. I was trying to decide which one I wanted you 
Ijylfo wear, when your arm dropped across that pale, straw-colored 
^' ^ilk, with the vine border around the corsage and the clambering 



2o6 Bricks Without Straw 

roses running down the front. That is the one you must wear. I 
never wore it but once, and the occasion is one I shall always like 
to recall." 

There was a gleeful time in the invalid's room while the fair 
girl was being habited in the garments of a by-gone generation, 
and when Hesden Le Moyne and his boy Hildreth were admitted 
to the hearty evening meal, two women who seemed like coun- 
terparts sat opposite each other at the sparkling board — the one 
habited in black silk with short waist, a low, square bodice with a i 
mass of tender lawn showing about the fair slender neck, puffed 
at the shoulders with straight, close sleeves reaching to the wrists, j 
around which peeped some rows of soft white lace; the white I 
hair combed in puffs beside the brow, clustering above its pinky 
softness and falling in a silvery cataract upon the neck. The style 
of the other's dress was the same, save that the shoulders were: 
uncovered, and except for the narrow puff which seemed but al 
continuation on either side, of the daintily-edged bodice, the arm 
hung pink and fair over the amber satin, uncovered and una-l 
domed save at the wrist, where a narrow circlet of gold clung 
lis;ht and close about it. Her hair was dressed in the same manner 
as the elder lady's, and differed only in its golden sheen. The 
customary lamp had been banished, and colored wax-candles 
brought from some forgotten receptacle, burned in the quaim 
old candelabra with which the mantels of the house had lon^ 
been decorated. 

The one-armed veteran of thirty gazed in wonder at thi 
unaccustomed brightness. If he needed to gaze long and earnestl' 
at the fair creature who sat over against his mother, to determin 
the resemblances which had been noted between the permanen 
and the temporary invalid, who shall blame him for so doing? 

Little Hildreth in his six-year-old wonderment was less jud 
cial, or at least required less time and inquiry to decide, for b 
cried out even before an introduction could be given, 

"Oh, papa, see, I've got a new, young grandma." 



Like and Unlike 207 

It was a gay party at that country supper-table, and four 
I happier people could hardly have gone afterward into the parlor 
\ where the invalid allowed herself to be wheeled by her son in 
j special honor of their unintended guest. 

i Miss Ainslie was soon seated at the piano which Hesden had 
' kept in tune more for the pleasure of occasional guests than his 
. own. It was three years since she had touched one, but the little 
ij organ, which some Northern benefactor had given to the church 
' and school at Red Wing, had served to prevent her fingers from 
; losing all their skill, and in a few minutes their wonted cunning 
J returned. She had been carefully trained and had by nature rare 
i musical gifts. The circumstances of the day had given a wonder- 
V ful exhilaration to her mind and thought. She seemed to have 
1 taken a leaf out of Paradise and bound it among the dingy pages 
:i of her dull and monotonous life. Every thing about her was so 
quaint and rare, the clothes she wore so rich and fantastic, that 
jshe could not control her fancy. Every musical fantasy that had 
)l ever crept into her brain seemed to be trooping along its galleries 
[jin a mad gallop as her fair fingers flew over the time-stained 
1 keys. The little boy stood clinging to her skirt in silent wonder, 
this fair, sensitive face working, and his eyes distended, with 
'^ delighted amazement. 

i The evening came to an end at last, and when the servant 
at went with her in her quaint attire, lighting her up the winding 
i 5 stairway from the broad hall to the great airy room above, with 
fits yawning fireplace cheery with the dying embers of a fire built 
i() hours ago to drive out the dampness, and its two high-posted 
libeds standing there in lofty dignity, the little Yankee school 
smarm could hardly realize what madcap freaks she had perpe- 
itrated since she bounded over the gate at the foot of the lane 
pleading from the highway down to Mulberry Hill, the ancestral 
home of the Richards family. 

As she sat smiling and blushing over the memory of what she 
•had done and said in those delicious hours, a servant tapped at 



2o8 Bricks Without Straw 

the door and announced that Master Hildreth, whom she bore in 
her arms and whose chubby fists were stuck into his eyes, was 
crying most disconsolately lest he should lose his "new grandma" 
while he slept. She had brought him, therefore, to inquire 
whether he might occupy one of the beds in the young lady's 
room, Mollie had not seen for so many years a child that she 
could fondle and caress, that it was with unbounded delight that 
she took the little fellow from his nurse's arms, laid him on the 
bed and coaxed his eyes to slumber. 



30 • An Unbidden Guest 



When the morning dawned the boy awoke with hot cheeks! 
and bloodshot eyes, moaning and restless, and would only 
quiet when pillowed in the arms of his new-found friend. A 
physician who was called pronounced his ailment to be scarlet-fe 
ver. He soon became delirious, and his fretful moans for his "ne^' 
grandma" were so piteous that Miss Ainslie could not make uj 
her mind to leave him. She stayed by his bedside all day, saying 
nothing of returning to Red Wing, until late in the afternoon 
messenger came from there to inquire after her, having trace( 
her by inquiry among several who had seen her during the storir 
as well as by the report that had gone out from the servants c__,; 
her presence at Mulberry Hill, f^ 

When Hesden La Moyne came to inform her of the messei^ 
ger's arrival, he found her sitting by his son's bedside, fanning h 



! An Unbidden Guest 209 

fevered brow, as she had done the entire day. He gazed at them 

both in silence a moment before making known his errand. Then 

(he took the fan from her hand and informed her of the messen- 

iger's arrival. His voice sounded strangely, and as she looked up at 

him she saw his face working with emotion. She cast down her 

/eyes quickly. She could not tell why. All at once she felt that this 

I quiet, maimed veteran of a lost cause was not to her as other 

imen. Perhaps her heart was made soft by the strange occurrences 

of the few hours she had passed beneath his mother's roof. 

However that may be, she was suddenly conscious of a feeling 

jishe had never known before. Her cheeks burned as she listened 

to his low, quiet tones. The tears seemed determined to force 

themselves beneath her downcast lids, but her heart bounded 

iwith a strange undefined joy. 

She rose to go and see the messenger. The sick boy moaned 
ind murmured her name. She stole a glance at the father, and 
mw his eyes filled with a look of mingled tenderness and pain. 
She walked to the door. As she opened it the restless sufferer 
:alled for her again. She went out and closed it quickly after her. 
At the head of the stairs she paused, and pressed her hand to her 
f leart while she breathed quick and her face burned. She raised 
ler other hand and pushed back a stray lock or two as if to cool 
[ler forehead. She stood a moment irresolute; glanced back at the 
jloor of the room she had left, with a half frightened look; 
J )laced a foot on the first stair, and paused again. Then she turned 
liluddenly back with a scared resolute look in her gray eyes, 
nipened the door and glided swiftly to the bedside. Hesden Le 
Coyne's face was buried in the pillow. She stood over him a 
-loment, her bosom heaving with short, quick sighs. She reached 

ut her hand as if she would touch him, but drew it quickly back. 

'hen she spoke, quietly but with great effort, looking only at the 
jittle sufferer. 
! "Mr. Le Moyne?" He raised his head quickly and a flush of joy 



2IO Bricks Without Straw 

swept over his face. She did not see it, at least she was not 
looking at him, but she knew it. "Would you like me to — to stay 
— until — until this is over?" 

He started, and the look of joy deepened in his face. He raised 
his hand but let it fall again upon the pillow, as he answered 
humbly and tenderly, 

"If you please, Miss Ainslie." 

She put her hand upon the bed, in order to seem more at ease, 
as she replied, with a face which she knew was all aflame, 

"Very well. I will remain for — the present." 

He bent his head and kissed her hand. She drew it quickly 
away and added in a tone of explanation: 

"It would hardly be right to go back among so many children 
after such exposure." So quick is love to find excuse. She called iti 
duty, nor ever thought of giving it a tenderer name. 

He made no answer. So easy is it for the fond heart to bei 
jealous of a new-found treasure. 

She waited a moment, and then went out and wrote a note to' 
Eliab Hill. Then she went into the room of the invalid mother, 
How sweet she looked, reclining on the bed in the pretty alcove] 
doing penance for her unwonted pleasure of the night before! 
The excited girl longed to throw her arms about her neck anc 
weep. It seemed to her that she had never seen any one so loveb 
and loveable. She went to the bedside and took the slender hanc | 
extended toward her. 

"So," said Mrs. Le Moyne, "I hear they have sent for you ti 
go back to Red Wing. I am sorry, for you have given us grea 
pleasure; but I am afraid you will have only sad memories C , 
Mulberry Hill. It is too bad! Poor Hildreth had taken such 
liking to you, too. I am sure I don't blame him, for I am as muc 
in love with you as an invalid can be with any one but hersel 
Hesden will have a hard time alone in this great house with tw 
sick people on his hands." 

"I shall not go back to Red Wing to-day." 



An Unbidden Guest 211 



( "Indeed?" 

r "No, I do not think it would be right to endanger so many by 

.exposure to the disease." 

); "Oh," carelessly; "but I am afraid you may take it yourself." 

'i "I hope not. I am very well and strong. Besides, Hildreth calls 

jifor me as soon as I leave him for a moment." 

' "Poor little fellow! It is pitiable to know that I can do nothing 

^for him." 

ij "I will do what I can, Mrs. Le Moyne." 

i "But you must not expose yourself in caring for a strange 

fichild, my dear. It will not do to be too unselfish." 

I "I cannot leave him, Mrs. Le Moyne." 

■; She left the room quickly and returned to her place at the 

Sufferer's bedside. Hesden Le Moyne rose as she approached. She 

took the fan from his hand and sat down in the chair he had 

hccupied. He stood silent a moment, looking down upon her as 

)he fanned the uneasy sleeper, and then quietly left the room. 

"What a dear, tender-hearted thing she is!" said Mrs. Le 
3|V[oyne to herself after she had gone. "So ladylike and refined too. 
'How can such a girl think of associating with niggers and 
reaching a nigger school? Such a pity she is not one of our 
.)eople. She would be just adorable then. Don't you think so, 
jiiesden?" she said aloud as her son entered. Having been in- 
iiiormed of the subject of her cogitations, Mr. Hesden Le Moyne 
eplied, somewhat absently and irrelevantly, as she thought, yet 
li'ery warmly, 
li "Miss Ainslie is a very remarkable woman." 

: ; He passed into the hall, and his mother, looking after him. 



1 "Poor fellow! he has a heap of trouble." And then it struck 

ier that her son's language was not only peculiar but amusing. 

lA remarkable woman!" She laughed to herself as she thought 

f it. A little, brown-haired, bright-eyed, fair-skinned chit, pretty 

nd plucky, and accomplished no doubt, but not at all "remarka- 



212 Bricks Without Straw 

ble." She had no style nor pride. Yankee women never had. And 
no family of course, or she would not teach a colored school, j 
"Remarkable!" It was about the only thing Miss Ainslie was not 
and could not be. It was very kind of her to stay and nurse 
Hildreth, though she only did that out of consideration for the 
colored brats under her charge at Red Wing. Nevertheless she 
was glad and gratified that she did so. She was a very capable 
girl, no doubt of that, and she would feel much safer about 
Hildreth because of her care. It was just in her line. She was like i 
all Yankee women — just a better class of housemaids. This one 
was very accomplished. She had played the piano exquisitely and 
had acted the lady to perfection in last night's masquerade. But 
Hesden must be crazy to call her remarkable. She chuckled 
lightly as she determined to rally him upon it, when she saw him I 
next. When that time came, the good lady had quite forgotten 
her resolve. 



3 1 • A Life for a Life 



It was a time of struggle at Mulberry Hill. Love and deatl: 
fought for the life of little Hildreth Le Moyne. The father anc 
the "new grandma" watched over him most assiduously; th( 
servants were untiring in their exertions; the physician's skill wa 
not lacking, but yet none could foresee the result. The invali( 
below sent frequent inquiries. First one and then the other stol 
away to ask her some question or bring her tidings in regard t 
the lad in whose life was bound up the hope of two old f amilie: ^ 



A Life for a Life 213 

One morning, while the child was still very sick, when Miss 

Ainslie awoke after the brief sleep which had been all the rest 

she had allowed herself from her self-imposed task, her head 

seemed strangely light. There was a roaring in her ears as if a 

|] cataract were playing about them. Her limbs ached, and every 

(movement seemed unusually difficult — almost painful. She 

J walked across the room and looked dully into the mirror on her 

[ dressing-case, resting her hands on the top of the high old-fash- 

i]jioned furniture as she did so. She was only able to note that her 

(eyes looked heavy and her face flushed and swollen, when a 

i[ sharp pain shot through her frame, her sight grew dim, the room 

lispun round and round. She could only crawl back and clamber 

■jwith difficulty upon the high-posted bed, where the servant 

nfound her fevered and unconscious when she came an hour later 

Bto awaken her for breakfast. The struggle that had been waged 

around the bed of the young child was now renewed by that of 

his self-constituted nurse. Weeks passed away before it was over, 

and ere that time the music of little feet had ceased about the 

[ancient mansion, and the stroke to pride and love had rendered 

:he invalid grandmother still more an invalid. 

The child had been her hope and pride as its mother had been 
ler favorite. By a strange contrariety the sunny-faced little 
nother had set herself to accomplish her son's union with the 
lall, dark, and haughty cousin, who had expired in giving birth to 
ittle Hildreth. There was nothing of spontaneity and no display 
i>f conjugal affection on the part of the young husband or his 
svife; but during the absence of her son, the invalid was well 
sared for and entertained by the wife, whom she came to love 
imh an intensity second only to that she lavished on her son. In 
tthe offspring of these two her heart had been wrapped up from 
'^be hour of his birth. She had dreamed out for him a life full of 
ireat actualities, and had even reproached Hesden for his apathy 
li regard to public affairs during the stirring scenes enacting 
L round them, urging him to take part in them for his son's sake. 



2 14 Bricks Without Straw 

She was a woman of great ambition. At first this had centered 
in her son, and she had even rejoiced when he went into the 
army, though he was earnestly opposed to the war, in the hope 
that it might bring him rank and fame. When these did not 
come, and he returned to her a simple private, with a bitterer 
hate for war and a sturdier dislike for the causes which had 
culminated in the struggle than he had when it began, she had 
despaired of her dream ever being realized through him, but had 
fondly believed that the son of the daughter-in-law she had so 
admired and loved would unite his father's sterling qualities with 
his mother's pride and love of praise, and so fulfill her desire that 
the family name should be made famous by some one descended 
from herself. This hope was destroyed by the death of the fair, 
bright child whom she loved so intensely, and she felt a double 
grief in consequence. In her sorrow, she had entirely secluded' 
herself, seeing no one but her nurse and, once or twice, her son. ' 
The sick girl in the room above was somehow unpleasantly! 
connected with her grief, and received no real sympathy in her 
illness. There was even something of jealousy in the mind of the 
confirmed invalid, when she remembered the remarkable manner' 
in which the child had been attracted toward the new-comer, as' 
well as the fact that she had nursed him so faithfully that his last 
words were a moan for his "new grandma," while his real 
grandmother lay useless and forgotten in her dim-shadowed 
room below. 

Besides, it was with a feeling of envy that she recognized the 
fact that, for the first time in his life, her son was more absorbec 
in another's welfare than in her own. The chronic ailment of the 
mother had no doubt become so much a thing of habit in his life 
that it failed to impress him as it should, while the illness of th( 
young girl, having, as he believed, been incurred by her volun 
tary attendance upon his son inspired him with a feeling o 
responsibility that would not otherwise have existed. Somethin; 
had occurred, too, which had aroused a feeling upon his par 



A Life for a Life 215 

, which is often very close akin to a tenderer one. As soon as he 
had learned of her illness, he had endeavored to induce some of 
,his female relatives to come and attend her, but they had all 
( flatly refused. They would come and care for the child, they said; 
:they would even send the "Yankee school-marm" flowers, and 
(make delicacies to tempt her appetite, but they would not de- 
^mean themselves by waiting upon a sick "nigger teacher." They 
,(did not fear the contagion; indeed they would have come to take 
^care of little Hildreth but that they did not care to meet his 
I3 Yankee nurse. They even blamed Hesden for allowing her to 
Icome beneath his roof, and intimated that she had brought 
^contagion with her. 

- He was angry at their injustice and prejudice. He had known 

^of its existence, but it never before seemed so hateful. Somehow 

iphe could not rid himself of two thoughts: one was of the fairy 

,:reature whose song and laughter and bird-like grace and gaiety, 

■as she masqueraded in the quaint dress of olden time, had made 

^the dull old mansion bright as a dream of Paradise for a single 

(.;aight. It had seemed to him, then, that nothing so bright and 

pure had ever flitted through the somber apartments of the gray 

Did mansion. He remembered the delight of his boy — that boy 

^hom he loved more than he had ever loved any one, unless it 

=vere his invalid mother — and he could not forget the same slight 

form, with serious shadowed face and earnest eyes moving softly 

ibout the sick-room of the child, her eyes full of sorrowful 

jtnxiety as if the life she sought to save were part of her own 

r)eing. He wondered that any one could think of her as a 

vitranger. It was true she had come from the North and was 

|;ngaged in a despised avocation, but even that she had glorified 

ind exalted by her purity and courage until his fastidious lady 

,aother herself had been compelled to utter words of praise. So 

is heart grew sore and his face flushed hot with wrath when his 

ousins sneered at this lily which had been blighted by the 

. svered breath of his son. 



2i6 Bricks "Without Straw 

They tauntingly advised him to send to Red Wing and get i 
some of her "nigger" pupils to attend upon her. Much to their i 
surprise he did so, and two quiet, gentle, deft-handed watchers \ 
came, who by day and by night sat by her bedside, gladly 
endeavoring to repay the debt they owed to the faithful teacher. 
But this did not seem to relieve Mr. Le Moyne of anxiety. He| 
came often and watched the flushed face, heard the labored 
breathing, and listened with pained heart to the unmeaning; 
murmurs which fell from her lips — the echoes of that desert 
dreamland through which fever drags its unconscious victims. Hei 
heard his own name and that of the fast-failing sufferer in thq 
adjoining room linked in sorrowful phrase by the stammering 
tongue. Even in the midst of his sorrow it brought him a thrill ol 
joy. And when his fear became fact, and he mourned the youn^ 
life no love could save, his visits to the sick-room of her who hac 
been his co-watcher by his child's bedside became more frequent 
He would not be denied the privilege until the crisis came, ann 
reason resumed her sway. Then he came no more, but every daj 
sent some token of remembrance. 

Mrs. Le Moyne had noted this solicitude, and with the jealouS 
of the confirmed invalid grudged the sick girl the slightest of th 
thoughtful attentions that she alone had been accustomed t'' 
receive. She did not dream that her son, Hesden Le Moyne, care 
anything for the little Yankee chit except upon broadly human 
tarian grounds, or perhaps from gratitude for her kindly atte: 
tion to his son; but even this fretted her. As time went on, si, 
came more and more to dislike her and to wish that she h;. 
never come beneath their roof. So the days flew by, grew in» 
weeks, and MoUie Ainslie was still at Mulberry Hill, wh; 
important events were happening at Red Wing. ■, 



3^ • A Voice from the Darkness 



! It was two weeks after Miss Ainslie's involuntary flight from 
tied Wing that Nimbus, when he arose one morning, found a 
;arge pine board hung across his gateway. It was perhaps six feet 
tong and some eighteen or twenty inches wide in the widest part, 
i;moothly planed upon one side and shaped like a coffin lid. A 
hole had been bored in either end, near the upper corner, and 
through each of these a stout cord had been passed and tied into 
p* loop, which, being slipped over a paling, one on each side the 
)i;ate, left the board swinging before it so as effectually to bar its 
opening unless the board were first removed. 
!:' The attention of Nimbus was first directed to it by a neigh- 
Qior-woman who, stopping in front of the gate, called out to him 
n great excitement, as he sat with Berry Lawson on his porch 
\\mtmg for his breakfast: 

"Oh, Bre'er Nimbus, what in de libbin' yairth is dis h'yer on 
tour gate? La sakes, but de Kluckers is atter you now, shore 
oiough!" 

"Why, what's de matter wid yer, Cynthy?" said Nimbus, 
Ett'heerfully. "Yer hain't seen no ghosteses nor nuffin', hez ye?" 
i\i "Ghosteses, did yer say?" answered the excited woman. "Jes 
if:b!;r come an' look, an' ef yer don't say hit wuss ner ghosteses, yer 
j 8)iay count Cynthy a fool. Dat's all." 

\:i Berry started down to the gate. Nimbus following him, care- 
ictii.ssly. 
slid "Why, hello, Bre'er Nimbus! Yer shore hez got a signboard 

oss de passway. Jes look a' dat now! What yer 'spect it mout 

?, cousin?" said Berry, stopping short and pointing to the board 
„ ingon the fence. 
" 'Clar, I dunno," said Nimbus, as he strode forward and 

aned over the fence to get a sight of the other side of the board. 

217 



2i8 Bricks Without Straw 

" 'Spec' it must be some of dem Ku Kluck's work, ez Cynthy 
says." 

After examining it a moment, he directed Berry to lift up the 
other end, and together they carried it to the house of Eliab Hill, 
where its grotesque characters were interpreted, so far as he was 
able to translate them, as well as the purport of a warning letter 
fastened on the board by means of a large pocket-knife thrust j 
through it, and left sticking in the soft wood. 

Upon the head of the coffin-shaped board was roughly drawnj 
in black paint, a skull and cross-bones and, underneath them, thej 
words ""Eliab Hill and Nimbus Desmit," and below these) 
still, the mystic cabala, "'K.K.K.," a formulary at which, just at; 
that time, a great part of the nation was laughing as a capita 
illustration of American humor. It was accounted simply a piece 
of grotesquerie intended to frighten the ignorant and superstii 
tious negro. 

The old claim of the South, that the colored man could H 
controlled and induced to labor only by the lash or its equivalent 
had many believers still, even among the most earnest opponent] 
of slavery, and not a few of these even laughed good-naturedly a 
the grotesque pictures in illustrated journals of shadowy being 
in horrible masks and terrified negroes cowering in the darknes 
with eyes distended, hair rising in kinky tufts upon their heads! 
and teeth showing white from ear to ear, evidently clattering lik 
castanets. It was wonderfully funny to far-away readers, and i 
made uproarious mirth in the aristocratic homes of the South 
From the banks of the Rio Grande to the waters of the Potomac 
the lordly Southron laughed over his glass, laughed on the trair 
laughed in the street, and laughed under his black cowl c 
weirdly decorated muslin — not so much at the victims of th 
terrible Klan, as at the silly North which was shaking its sides i 
the mask he wore. It was an era of fun. Everybody laughed. Tl 
street gamins imitated the Kluck, which gave name to the Klai 
It was one of the funniest things the world had ever known. 






! A Voice from the Darkness 219 

i The Yankee — Brother Jonathan — had long been noted as a 

droll. A grin was as much a part of his stock apparel as tow 

(breeches or a palm-leaf hat. The negro, too, had from time 

: immemorial been portrayed upon the stage and in fiction as an 

5 irrepressible and inimitably farcical fellow. But the "Southern 

3 gentleman" was a man of different kidney from either of these. A 

isardonic dignity hedged him about with peculiar sacredness. He 

was chivalrous and baronial in his instincts, surroundings, and 

llcharacteristics. He was nervous, excitable, and bloodthirsty. He 

liwould "pluck up drowned honor by the locks" and make a target 

;;of every one who laughed. He hunted, fought, gambled, made 

much of his ancestors, hated niggers, despised Yankees, and 

'5wore and swaggered on all occasions. That was the way he was 

iDictured in the ancient days. He laughed — sometimes — not often, 

Siind then somewhat sarcastically — but he did not make himself 

I ridiculous. His amour propre was most intense. He appreciated 

;:un, but did not care that it should be at his expense. He was 

fgrave, irritable and splenetic; but never comical. A braggart, a 

t^i'ough-rider, an aristocrat; but never a masquerader. That was the 

bid-time idea. 

" Yet so had the war and the lapse of half a decade changed this 

loeople that in one State forty thousand men, in another thirty, in 

: prthers more and in others less, banded together with solemn 

litaths and bloody ceremonies, just to go up and down the earth in 

the bright moonlight, and play upon the superstitious fears of the 

I'oor ignorant and undeveloped people around them. They be- 

: fame a race of jesters, moonlight masqueraders, personators of 

i; |ebe dead. They instituted clubs and paraded by hundreds, the 

^ 1 rained cavalry of a ghostly army organized into companies, 

attalions, divisions, departments, having at their head the 

;; i^Grand "Wizard of the Empire." It was all in sport — a great jest, 

r at the worst designed only to induce the colored man to work 

)mewhat more industriously from apprehension of ghostly dis- 

leasure. It was a funny thing — the gravest, most saturnine, and 



Hf 



220 Bricks Without Straw 

self-conscious people on the globe making themselves ridiculous, | 
ghostly masqueraders by the hundred thousand! The world which 
had lately wept with sympathy for the misfortunes of the "Lost 
Cause," was suddenly convulsed with merriment at the midnight 
antics of its chivalric defenders. The most vaunted race of war- 
riors seized the cap and bells and stole also the plaudits showered 
upon the fool. Grave statesmen, reverend divines, legislators, 
judges, lawyers, generals, merchants, planters, all who could 
muster a good horse, as it would seem, joined the jolly cavalcade : 
and rollicked through the moonlight nights, merely to make fun ' 
for their conquerors by playing on the superstitious fear of the 
sable allies of the Northmen. Never before was such good-na- 
tured complaisance, such untiring effort to please. So the Northi 
laughed, the South chuckled, and the world wondered. 

But the little knot of colored men and women who stood' 
around Eliab Hill while he drew out the knife which was thrust 
through the paper into the coffin-shaped board laid across thej 
front of his "go-cart," and with trembling lips read the message iti 
contained — these silly creatures did not laugh. They did not even 
smile, and a joke which Berry attempted, fell flat as a jest madei 
at a funeral. 

There is something very aggravating about the tendency oi 
this race to laugh at the wrong time, and to persist in bein^' 
disconsolate when every one can see that they ought to dance 
Generation after generation of these perverse creatures in th( 
good old days of slavery would insist on going in search of tb 
North Pole under the most discouraging circumstances. On foo 
and alone, without money or script or food or clothing; withou 
guide or chart or compass; without arms or friends; in the teed 
of the law and of nature, they gave themselves to the night, tb 
frost, and all the dangers that beset their path, only to seek wha'i 
they did not want! 

We know there was never a happier, more contented, ligh' 



mm 



A Voice from the Darkness 221 

jiearted, and exuberant people on the earth than the Africo- 
[American slave! He had all that man could reasonably desire — 
jind more too! Well-fed, well-clothed, luxuriously housed, pro- 
jected from disease with watchful care, sharing the delights of an 
jinrivalled climate, relieved of all anxiety as to the future of his 
i.')ffspring, without fear of want, defiant of poverty, undisturbed 
)-_)y the bickerings of society or heartburnings of politics, regard- 
ijess of rank or station, wealth, kindred, or descent, it must be 
[dmitted that, from an earthly point of view, his estate was as 
j^iear Elysian as the mind can conceive. Besides all this, he had the 
rijospel preached unto him — for nothing; and the law kindly 
f scured him against being misled by false doctrines, by providing 
iitiat the Bread of Life should never be broken to him unless some 
eputable Caucasian were present to vouch for its quality and 
-jssume all responsibility as to its genuineness! 
I That a race thus carefully nourished, protected, and guarded 
Jrom error as well as evil should be happy, was just as natural as 
jiat the sun should shine. That they were happy only lunatics 
jjDuld doubt. All their masters said so. They even raved when it 
,:'as denied. The ministers of the Gospel — those grave and rever- 
id men who ministered unto them in holy things, who led their 
lireless souls, blindfolded and trustful, along the straight and 
piarrow way — all declared before high Heaven that they were 
ilippy, almost too happy, for their spiritual good. Politicians, and 
]irties, and newspapers; those who lived among them and those 
, jjdiG went and learned all about them from the most intelligent 
jid high-toned of their Caucasian fellow-beings — nigh about 
c'erybody, in fact — declared, affirmed, and swore that they were 
jt the very utmost verge of human happiness! Yet even under 
:<ese circumstances the perverse creatures would run away. In- 
ied, to run away seemed to be a characteristic of the race like 
eir black skin and kinkling hair! It would have seemed, to an 
^^linformed on-looker, that they actually desired to escape from 



222 Bricks Without Straw 

the paternal institution which had thrown around their lives all 
these blissful and beatifying circumstances. But we know it was 
not so. It was only the inherent perversity of the race! 

Again, when the war was ended and they were thrown upon 
the cold charity of an unfriendly world, naked, poor, nameless, 
and homeless, without the sheltering and protecting care of that 
master who had ever before been to them the incarnation of a 
kindly Providence — at that moment when, by all the rules which 
govern Caucasian human nature, their eyes should have been rec 
with regretful tears, and their hearts overburdened with sorrow, 
these addled-pated children of Africa, moved and instigated by 
the perverse devil of inherent contrariness, were grinning from 
ear to ear with exasperating exultation, or bowed in still more 
exasperating devotion, were rendering thanks to God for the 
calamity that had befallen them! 

So, too, when the best people of the whole South masqueraded 
for their special benefit, they stupidly or smbbornly failed am 
refused to reward their "best friends" for the entertainmem 
provided for them, at infinite pains and regardless of expense 
even with the poor meed of approving cachinnation. They oughj 
to have been amused; they no doubt were amused; indeed, it 'i 
morally impossible that they should not have been amused — bu 
they would not laugh! Well may the Caucasian of the South sa- 
of the ebony brother whom he has so long befriended and strive 
to amuse: "I have piped unto you, and you have not danced!" 

So Eliab read, to a circle whose cheeks were gray with pallo 
and whose eyes glanced quickly at each other with affright, the? 
words: 

Eliab Hill and Nimbus Desmit: You've been warned twic 
and it hain't done no good. This is your last chance. If you don't ^ 
up and git out of here inside of ten days, the buzzards will have 
bait that's been right scarce since the war. The white folks is goii 
to rule Horsford, and sassy niggers must look out. We're not goii 
to have any such San Domingo hole as Red Wing in it, neith( 



I 



I A Voice from the Darkness 223 

<fow just sell off and pack up and git clear off and out of the 

ountry before we come again, which will be just as soon as the 

noon gits in the left quarter, and has three stars in her lower horn. 

f you're here then you'll both need coffins, and that boy Berry 

'uawson that you coaxed away from his employer will hang with 

?ou. 

V Remember! Remember! REMEMBER! 

By order of the Grand Cyclops of the Den and his two Night 
lawks, and in the presence of all the Ghouls, on the fifth night of 
tie sixth Dark Moon! 
I K. K. K. 

I Hardly had he finished reading this when a letter was brought 
3 him which had been found on the porch of the old Ordinary. 
c was addressed to "Miss Mollie Ainslie, Nigger Teacher at 
•>ed Wing," but as it was indorsed "K, K. K." Eliab felt no 
ompunctions in opening it in her absence. It read: 

J. Miss Ainslie: We hain't go no spite against you and don't mean 
, pu no harm; but the white folks owns this country, and is going to 
.lie it, and we can't stand no such nigger-equality schools as you are 
inning at Red Wing. It's got to stop, and you'd better pick up and 
D back North where you come from, and that quick, if you want to 
:eep out of trouble. Remember! 

t By order of the Grand Cyclops of the Den and his Ghouls, 
^ K. K. K. 

, P.S. We don't mean to hurt you. We don't make no war on 
omen and children as the Yankees did, but we mean what we say 
I'i-git out! And don't come back here any more neither! 

j The rumor of the mysterious Klan and its terrible doings had 
(-en in the air for many months. From other States, and even 
om adjoining counties, had come to their ears the wail of its 
ictims. But so preponderating was the colored population of 
H:orsford, and so dependent upon their labor was its prosperity, 
iJiat they had entertained little fear of its coming among them, 
-wo or three times before, Nimbus and Eliab had received 
harnings and had even taken some precautions in regard to 
.iense; but they did not consider the matter of sufl&cient mo- 



224 Bricks Without Straw 

ment to require them to make it public. Indeed, they were| 
inclined to think that as there had been no acts of violence in the I 
county, these warnings were merely the acts of mischievous I 
youngsters who desired to frighten them into a display of fear. 
This seemed to be a more serious demonstration, but they were I 
not yet prepared to give full credence to the threat conveyed in 
so fantastic a manner. 



3 3 • A Difference of Opinion 



"Wal, dey manage to fotch Berry inter it widout sending hin 
a letter all to hissef, atter all," said that worthy, when Eliab, witl 
pale lips, but a firm voice, had finished reading the paper. "Bei 
done 'spectin' dat, all de time sence I come h'yer. Cousin Nimbus 
I'se been a-hearin' 'bout dese Klu Kluckers dis smart while no\i( 
ober yer in Pocatel and Hanson counties, an' I 'spected Mars 
Sykes 'd be a-puttin' 'em on ter me jest ez soon as dey got obfl 
here. He hed no idear, yer know, but what I'd hev ter go back ai 
wuk fer jes what I could git; an sence I hain't he's mad about i 
dat's all. What yer gwine ter do 'bout it, Nimbus?" 

"I'se gwine ter stay right h'yer an' fight it out, I is," sa; 
Nimbus, doggedly. "I'se fout fer de right ter live in peace on ir 
own Ian' once, an' I kin fight for it agin. Ef de Ku Klucke 
wants ter try an whip Nimbus, jes let 'em come on," he sal 
bringing down his clenched right hand upon the board whi(| 
was upheld by his left, with such force that it was split from ei-'i 
to end. 



A Difference of Opinion 225 

ij "Hi! you take keer dar, Cousin Nimbus," said Berry, hopping 
lit of the way of the falling board with an antic gesture. "Fust 
i,au know, yer hurt yer han' actin' dat er way. What you gwine 
ir do 'bout dis yer matter, Uncle 'Liab?" he continued, turning 
;i the preacher. 

The man addressed was still gazing on the threatening letter. 

is left hand wandered over his dark beard, but his face was full 

■ an unwavering light as he replied: 

;, "The Lord called me to my work; He has opened many a door 
' ;fore me and taken me through many trials. He has written, 'I 

ill be with thee alway, even unto the end.' Bless His holy 
jiame! Hitherto, when evil has come I have waited on Him. I 
lay not do a man's part like you, my brother," he continued, 

ying his hand on Nimbus' knotted arm and gazing admiringly 
oon his giant frame, "but I can stand and wait, right here, for 

e Lord's will to be done; and here I will stay — here with my 

:ople. Thank the Lord, if I am unable to fight I am also unable 
pi fly. He knew what a poor, weak creature I was, and He has 
^ken care of that. I shall stay, let others do as they may. What 
]e you going to do. Brother Berry? You are in the same danger 
3ith Nimbus and me." 

^r'Wal, Bre'er 'Liab," replied Berry, "I hab jes 'bout made up 
p min' ter run fer it. Yer see, I'se jes a bit differently sarcum- 
bjinced from what either o' you 'uns is. Dar's Nimbus now, he's 
tea in de wah an' knows all 'bout de fightin' business; an' you's 
iipreacher an' knows all der is ob de prayin' trade. But I never 

IS wuth nothin' ob any account at either. It's de feet ez hez 
•ers stood by me," he added, executing a double-shuffle on the 
|iank walk where he stood; "an' I 'Hows ter stan' by dem, an' 
b^ht outen here, afore dem ar Kluckers comes roun' fer an 
i?swer ter dat ar letter. Dat's my notion, Bre'er 'Liab." 
I ''"Yer don't mean yer gwine ter run away on de 'count ob dese 
\\t: Ku Kluckers, does yer, Berry?" said Nimbus, angrily, 

"Dat's jes 'zackly what I do mean, Cousin Nimbus — no mis- 



226 Bricks Without Straw 

take 'bout dat," answered Berry, bowing towards Nimbus with a 
great show of mock poKteness. "What else did yer tink Berryj 
mean, hey? Didn't my words 'spress demselves cl'ar? Yer know, 
cousin, dat I'se not one ob de fightin' kine. Nebber hed but one 
fight in my life, an' den dar wuz jes de wuss whipped nigger you 
ebber seed. Yer see dem sinners, eh?" rolling up his sleeve and 
showing a round, close-corded arm. "Oh, I'se some when I gitsj 
started, I is. All whip-cord an' chain-lightnin', whoop! I'll bet a 
harf dollar now, an borrer de money from Bre'er Nimbus h'yei) 
ter pay it, dat I kin turn more han'-springs an' offener an' longeij 
nor ary man in dis crowd. Oh, I'se some an' more too, I is, anj 
don't yer fergit it. 'Bout dat fight?" he continued to a questioner; 
"oh, yes, dat was one ob de mos' 'markable fights dar's ever been 
in Ho'sford county. Yer see 'twuz all along uv Ben Slade an' me 
Lor' bress yer, how we did fight! 'Pears ter me dat it must he^ 
been nigh 'bout harf a day we wuz at it." 

"But you didn't lick Ben, did you, Berry?" asked one of tb 
bystanders in surprise. 

"Lick him? Yer jes' orter see de corn I wollered down 'lonj 
wid dat nigga'! Dar must hev been close on ter harf an acrj 
on't." 

"But he's a heap bigger 'n you. Berry, ez stout ez a bull an' onl 
ob de bes' fighters ebber on de hill at Louisburg. Yer je^ 
romancin' now, Berry," said Nimbus, incredulously. | 

"Oh, but yer don't understan' it, cousin," said Berry. "Yer see < 
played fer de under holt — an' got it, dat I did. Lor'! how dat afl 
Ben did thrash de groun' wid me! Ole Mahs'r lost a heap ob cor 
on 'count dat ar fight! But I hung on ter him, an' nebber woul 
hev let him go till now, ef — ef somebody hedn't pulled me oi 
from under him!" 

There was a roar of laughter at this, in which Berry joine 
heartily, and as it began to die out he continued: 

"Dat's de only fight I ebber hed, an' I don't want no mo'. I'se 
peaceable man, an' don't want ter hurt nobody. Ef de Klucke 



I 



A Difference of Opinion 227 

(ants ter come whar I is, an' gibs me sech a perlite notice ez dat 
pr quit, I'se gwine ter git out widout axin' no imper'ent ques- 
I'ipns 'bout who was dar fust. An I'se gwine ter keep gittin' 
fk — jest' ez fur an' ez fast ez dey axes me ter move on, ez long ez 
h road's cut out an' I don't come ter no jumpin'-oflF place. Ef dey 
hat approve of Berry Lawson a stayin' roun' h'yer, he's jes' a 
Imne West ter grow up wid der kentry." 

'j "I'd sooner be dead than be sech a limber-jinted coward! " said 
(j'imbus. "I'm sorry I ebber tuk ye in atter Marse Sykes hed put 
^;r out in de big road, dat I am." There was a murmur of 
?>proval, and he added: "An' ef yer hed enny place ter go ter, 
'f !r shouldn't stay in my house nary 'nother minit." 
5 "Now, Cousin Nimbus," said Berry, soberly, "dar hain't nary 
p:t ob use ob enny sech talk ter me. Berry arns his libbin' ef he 
jbes hab his joke now an' agin." 

i I "Oh, no doubt o' dat," said Nimbus. "Ther ain't no better han' 
i I enny crop dan Berry Lawson. I've said dat often an' over." 
j I "Den yer jes take back dem hard words yer spoke 'bout Berry, 
3pn't yer now, Cousin Nimbus?" said Berry, sidling up to him 
Md looking very much as if he intended to give the lie to his 

vn account of his fighting proclivities. 

\\ "No, I won't," said Nimbus, positively. "I do say dat any man 
ji runs away kase de Ku Kluck tries ter scar him off is a damn 
' iward, 'n I don't care who he calls his name neither." 
'i "Wal, now, Cousin Nimbus," said Berry, his eyes flashing and 

1,5 whole appearance falsifying his previous poltroonery, "dar's 
] o sides ter dat ar question. I hain't nebber been a sojer like you, 
pusin, an' it's a fac' dat I don't keer ter be; but I du say ez how 
1 1 be ez willin' ter stan' up an' fight fer de rights we's got ez 
I 'ny man dat ebber's trod de sile enny where's 'bout Red Wing, 
'' I thought ez how 'twould do de least bit ob good. But I tell 

r, gemmen, hit won't do enny good, not de least bit, an' I 
|ows it. I'se seen de Ku Kluckers, gemmen, an' I knows who 
i^ne on 'em is, an' I knows dat when sech men takes hold ob 



228 Bricks Without Straw 

sech a matter wid only pore niggers on de udder side, dar ain't no 
chance fer de niggers. I'se seen 'em, an' I knows." 

"When?" "Whar?" "Tell us 'bout It, Berry!" came up from all 
sides in the crowd which had collected until now almost all the 
inhabitants of Red Wing and its vicinity were there. 

"Oh, 'tain't nuffin'," said he, nonchalantly. "What Berry says 
ain't no 'count, nohow." 

"Yes, tell us 'bout it," said Nimbus, in a conciliatory tone. 

"Wal, ef you wants ter hear, I'll tell it," said Berry, conde- 
scendingly. "Yer mind some tree er fo' weeks ago I went ter 
Bre'er Rufe's, ober in Hanson county, on a Friday night, an' 
didn't git back till a Monday mornin'?" 

"Sartin," said Nimbus, gravely. 

"Wal, 'twas along o' dis yer business dat I went thar. I know'dj 
yer'd got one er two warnin's sence I'd come yere wid yer, an' I, 
'llowed it were on account ob me, kase dem ar Sykeses is 
monstrous bad folks when dey gits mad, an' ole Marse Granville, 
he war powerful mad at me findin' a home here wid my owi^ 
relations. So, I tole Sally Ann all 'bout it, an' I sez to her, 'Sally,! 
sez I, 'I don't want ter make Nimbus no sort o' trouble, I don'ti 
kase he's stood up ter us like a man. Now, ef dey should take Sj 
notion ter trouble Bre'er Nimbus, hit mout do him a heap oj 
harm, kase he's got so much truck 'round him here ter lose.' Sc 
we made it up dat I was ter go ter Bre'er Rufe Paterson's, ober ir. . 
Hanson county an' see ef we couldn't find a place ter lib dar, so': 
not ter be baitin' de hawks on ter you. Cousin Nimbus." . ^,, 

"Now you. Berry," said Nimbus, extending his hand heartilyjl| 
"what for yer no tell me dis afore?" & 

"Jes kase 'twas no use," answered Berry. "Wal, yer know, :, 
left h'yer 'bout two hours ob de sun, an' I pushes on right pearl 
kase it's a smart step ober ter Rufe's, ennyhow, an' I wanted te 
see him an' git back ter help Nimbus in de crap ob a Monda) , 
Sally hed fixed me up a bite o' bread an' a piece o' meat, an' 
'llowed I'd jes stop in some piney ole-field when I got tired, es. 
my snack, go ter sleep, an' start fresh afo' daylight in de mornir 



A Difference of Opinion 229 

r de rest ob de way. I'd been a wukkin' right peart in de 
w-ground dat day, an' when I got ter dat pine thicket jes past 
i spring by de Brook's place, 'twixt de Haw Ribber an' Stony 
kk, 'long 'bout nine o'clock I reckon, I wuz dat done out dat I 

takes a drink at de spring, eats a bite o' bread an' meat, hunts 
'lose place under de pines, an' goes ter sleep right away, 
"Yer knows dar's a smart open place dar, whar dey used ter 
y de ole muster-ground. 'Twas de time ob de full moon, an* 
?|ien I woke up a-hearin* somethin', an' kind o' peeped out 
' der de pine bushes, I t'ought at fust dat it was de ghostesses ob 

ole chaps dat hed come back ter muster dar, sure 'nough. Dey 
\ irn't more'n ten steps away from me, an' de boss man, he sot 
' d his back to me in dat rock place what dey calls de Lubber's 
l';eer, De bosses was tied all round ter de bushes, an' one ob 'em 
'• rn't more'n tree steps from me, nohow. I heard 'em talk jest ez 
f.in ez you can hear me, an' I know'd right smart ob de voices, 
if but, la sakes! yer couldn't make out which from t'odder wid 
("n tings dey hed on, all ober der heads, an' way down to der 
I't." 

• 'What did they say?" asked Eliab Hill. 

-■.'Wal, Bre'er 'Liab, dey sed a heap, but de upshot on't all was 
c': de white folks hed jes made up dar min's ter run dis kentry, 
s te ob ebbery ting. Dey sed dat dey wuz all fixed up in ebbery 
c' mty from ole Virginny clean ter Texas, an' dey wuz gwine ter 
t' :h de niggers dere place agin, ef dey hed ter kill a few in each 
c mty an' hang 'em up fer scarecrows — jes dat 'ere way. Dey 
\^"n't no spring chickens, nuther. Dar wur Sheriff Gleason. He 
s 1 he'd comed over ter let 'em know how they was gittin' on in 
I'fsford. He sed dat ebbery white man in de county 'cept about 
t'- or twelve was inter it, an dey wuz a gwine ter clean out 
r^ger rule h'yer, shore. He sed de fust big thing they got on 
f' d wuz ter break up dis buzzard-roost h'yer at Red Wing, an' 
If llowed dat wouldn't be no hard wuk kase dey'd got some 
ptty tough tings on Nimbus an' 'Liab both. 
Dey wuz all good men. I seed de bosses, when dey mounted 






230 Bricks Without Straw 

ter go 'way. I tell ye dey wuz good 'uns! No pore-white trash dar; 
no lame hosses ner blind mules ner wukked down crap-critters. 
Jes sleek gentlemen's hosses, all on 'em. 

"Wal, dey went off atter an hour er two, an' I lay dar jes in 
puffick lather o' sweat. I was dat dar skeered, I couldn't sleep n( 
mo' dat ar night, an' I darsn't walk on afore day kase I W112 
afeared o' meetin' some on 'em. So I lay, an' t'ought dis ting al 
ober, an' I tell ye, fellers, 'tain't no use. 'Spose all de white med 
in Ho'sford is agin us, what's we gwine ter do? We can't lib. Lot^ 
o' niggers can't lib a week widout wuk from some white manJ 
'Sides dat, dey's got de hosses an' de guns, an' de 'sperience; an 
what we got? Jes nuffin'. Der ain't no mo' use o' fightin' dan ol 
tryin' ter butt down 'simmons off a foot-an'-a-half tree wid yei 
head. It don't make no sort o' matter 'bout our rights. Co'se we's^ 
got a right ter vote, an' hold meetin's, an' be like white folks; bul 
we can't do it ef dey's a mind ter stop us. An' dey is — dat berrj 

ting! 

"Nimbus sez he's gwine ter fight, an' 'Liab sez he's gwine tel 
pray. Dat's all right, but it won't do nobody else enny good m 
them nuther. Dat's my notion. What good did fightin' er prayiri 
either used ter do in ole slave times? Nary bit. An' dey's got ui 
jest about ez close ez dey hed us den, only de halter-chain's J 
leetle mite longer, dat's all. All dey's got ter do is jes ter shortei 
up on de rope an'it brings us in, all de same ez ever. Dat's m 
notion. So I'se gwine ter move on ebbery time dey axes me tu 
kase why, I can't help it. Berry'll git enough ter eat moj 
ennywhar, an' dat's 'bout all he 'spects in dis worl'. It's a leetl 
better dan de ole slave times, an' ef it keeps on a-growin' bette 
'n better, gineration atter gineration, p'raps some of Berry 
kinfolks'U git ter hev a white man's chance some time." 

Berry's experience was listened to with profound interest, bi 
his conclusions were not received with favor. There seemed to t 
a general conviction that the colored race was to be put on tria 
and that it must show its manhood by defending itself an 



A Difference of Opinion 231 

faintaining its rights against all odds. His idea of running away 
::as voted a cowardly and unworthy one, and the plan advocated 
r Nimbus and Eliab, to stay and fight it out or take whatever 
jinsequences might result, was accepted as the true one to be 
[opted by men having such responsibility as rested upon them, 
,, the first generation of freemen in the American history of 
eir race. 

rf So, Nimbus and his friends made ready to fight by holding a 

eeting in the church, agreeing upon signals, taking account of 

[Cir arms, and making provision to get ammunition. Berry 

epared for his exodus by going again to his brother Rufus' 

|j)use and engaging to work on a neighboring plantation, and 

me two weeks afterward he borrowed Nimbus' mule and 

.'try-all and removed his family also. As a sort of safeguard on 

his last journey, he borrowed from Eliab Hill a repeating Spen- 

jT carbine, which a Federal soldier had left at the cabin of that 

)rthy, soon after the downfall of the Confederacy. He was 

«obably one of those men who determined to return home as 

Dn as they were convinced that the fighting was over. Sher- 

jin's army, where desertion had been unknown during the war, 

i\t thousands of men in this manner between the scene of 

ohnston's surrender and the Grand Review at "Washington, 

aich ended the spectacular events of the war. Eliab had pre- 

ij ved this carbine very carefully, not regarding it as his own, but 

:5idy to surrender it to the owner or to any proper authority 

')jnen demanded. It was useless without the proper ammunition, 

:3d as this seemed to be a peculiar emergency, he allowed Berry 

Kltake it on condition that he should stop at Boyleston and get a 

ipDply of cartridges. Eliab had never fired a gun in his life, but 

] I believed in defending his rights, and thought it well to be 

i^dy to resist unlawful violence should it be offered. 



34 ■ The Majesty of the La^v 



A few days after the events narrated in the last two chapters 
the sheriff presented himself at Red Wing, There was a keenj 
shrewd look in the cold, gray eyes under the overhanging brows 
as he tied his horse to the rack near the church, and taking hii 
saddle-bags on his arm, crossed the road toward the residence oj 
Nimbus and Eliab Hill. 

Red Wing had always been a remarkably peaceful and quie] 

settlement. Acting under the advice of Miss Ainslie and Eliabi 

Nimbus had parted with none of his possessions except upot 

terms which prevented the sale of spirituous liquors there. Thi; 

was not on account of any "fanatical" prejudice in favor oj 

temperance, since the Squire of Red Wing was himself ncj 

exactly averse to an occasional dram; but he readily perceive^ 

that if such sale could be prohibited in the little village thi 

chances for peace and order would be greatly improved. H| 

recognized the fact that those characters that were most likely tj 

assemble around a bar-room were not the most likely to 

valuable residents of the settlement. Besides the condition in h 

own deeds, therefore, he had secured through the members of th 

Legislature from his county the passage of an act forever prcj 

hibiting the sale of spirituous liquors within one mile of th 

school-house at Red Wing. Just without this limit several littlj 

shanties had been erected where chivalric white men doled oil 

liquor to the hard-working colored men of E.ed Wing. It was a 

easy and an honorable business and they did not feel degraded t 

contact with the freedmen across the bar. The superior race d' 

not feel itself debased by selling bad whisky at an extravagan 

price to the poor, thirsty Africans who went by the "shebangs" 

and from their daily toil. But Nimbus and the law would n\^ 

allow the nearer approach of such influences. H 

'i 
232 I 



The Majesty of the Law 233 

By these means, with the active co-operation of the teachers, 
Red Wing had been kept so peaceful, that the officers of the law 
rarely had occasion to appear within its limits, save to collect the 
.fiscal dues from its citizens. 

- It was with not a little surprise, therefore, that Nimbus saw 
'the stalwart sheriff coming towards him where he was at work 
?upon the hillside back of his house, "worming" and "topping" a 
i field of tobacco which gave promise of a magnificent yield. 
; "Mornin', Nimbus," said the officer, as he drew near, and 
turning partially around glanced critically over the field and 
^-furtively at the little group of buildings below. "A fine stand of 
iterbacker you've got — mighty even, good growth. Don't think 
"I've seen quite as good-looking a crap this year. There's old man 
George Price up about Rouseville, he's got a mighty fine crap — 
always does have, you know. I saw it yesterday and didn't think 
I anything could be better, but your's does beat it, that's sure. It's 
■ svener and brighter, and a trifle heavier growth, too. I told him 
that if anybody in the county could equal it you were the man; 
{|but I had no idea you could beat it. This is powerful good land 
Jrfor terbacker, certain." 

]( " 'Tain't so much the land," said Nimbus, standing up to his 
Ikrm-pits in the rank-leaved crop above which his bare black 
iirms glistened in the hot summer sun, "as 'tis the keer on't. 
powerful few folks is willin' ter give the keer it takes ter grow 
I'm' cure a fine crop o' terbacker. Ther ain't a minit from the 
:i:ime yer plant the seed-bed till ye sell the leaf, that ye kin take 
'er finger offen it widout resk ob losin' all yer wuk." 
:- "That's so," responded the sheriff, "but the land has a heap to 
"lo with it, after all." 

"Ob co'se," said Nimbus, as he broke a sucker into short pieces 

. )etween his thumb and finger, "yer's got ter hab de sile; but 

Cher's a heap mo' jes ez good terbacker Ian' ez dis, ef people only 

iied the patience ter wuk it ez I do mine." 

"Wal, now, there's not so much like this," said the sheriff. 



234 Bricks Without Straw 

sharply, "and you don't think so, neither. You wouldn't take 
big price for your two hundred acres here now." He watched the 
other's countenance sharply as he spoke, but the training ol 
slavery made the face of the black Ajax simply Sphinx-like in its 
inscrutability. 

"Wal, I don't know," said Nimbus, slowly, "I mout and ther 
again I moutn't, yer know. Ther'd be a good many pints ter thinli 
over besides the quality of the sile afore I'd want ter say 'yes' ei 
'no' to an offer ob dat kind." 

"That's what I thought," said the sheriff. "You are nicely fixec 
here, and I don't blame you. I had some little business with you 
and I'm glad I come today and caught ye in your terbacker. It' 
powerful fine." 

"Business wid me?" asked Nimbus in surprise. "What is it? 

"Oh, I don't know," said the officer, lightly, as he put on hi 
spectacles, opened his saddle-bags and took out some paper: 
"Some of these lawyers have got after you, I suppose, thinkin 
you're getting along too peart. Let me see," he continuec 
shuffling over the papers in his hand. "Here's a summons in 
civil action — the old man, Granville Sykes, against Nimbus Dei 
mit and Eliab Hill, Where is 'Liab? I must see him, too. Here 
your copy," he continued, handing Nimbus the paper and marl- 
ing the date of service on the original in pencil with the carele 
promptitude of the well-trained official. 

Nimbus looked at the paper which was handed him in undi 
guised astonishment. 

"What is dis ting, anyhow, Marse Sheriff?" he asked. 

"That? Why, that is a summons. Can't you read it? Here, 1 
me take it." 

He read over the legal formulary requiring Nimbus to be ai. 
appear at the court house in Louisburg on the sixth Monday aft: 
the second Monday in August, to answer the demand of ti 
plaintiff against him, and concluding with the threat that i 
default of such appearance judgment would be entered » 
against him. 



I 



The Majesty of the Law 235 

"You see, you've got to come and answer old man Granville's 
! complaint, and after that you will have a trial. You'll have to get 
a lawyer, and I expect there'll be smart of fuss about it before it's 
I over. But you can afford it; a man as well fixed as you, that 
makes such terbacker as this, can aflford to pay a lawyer right 
I smart. I've no doubt the old man will get tired of it before you 
1 do; but, after all, law is the most uncertain thing in the world." 
I "What does it mean? Has he sued me?" asked Nimbus. 
\ "Sued you? I should rather think he had — for a thousand 
); dollars damages too. That is you and 'Liab, between you." 
"But what for? I don't owe him anythin' an' never did." 
i! "Oh, that's nothing. He says you've damaged him. I've forgot 
what it's about. Let me see. Oh, yes, I remember now. He says 
you and 'Liab enticed away his servant — what's his name? that 
J[ limber-jinted, whistlin' feller you've had working for you for a 
5 spell." 

"What, Berry?" 

"That's it. Berry — Berry Lawson. That's the very chap. Well, 
n old Granville says you coaxed him to leave his employ, and he's 
( after you under the statute." 

J! "But it's a lie — every word on't! I nebber axed Berry ter leave 
111 him, an' hed no notion he was a gwine ter do it till Marse Sykes 
[ throwed him out in de big road." 

^ "Wal, wal, I don't know nothing about that, I'm sure. He says 

Wyou did, you say you didn't. I s'pose it'll take a court and jury to 

decide betwixt ye. It's none of my concern. Oh, yes," he con- 

itinued, "I like to have forgot it, but here's a capias for you, 

too — you and 'Liab again. It seems there's a bill of indictment 

against you. I presume it's the same matter. I must have a bond 

iion this for your appearance, so you'd better come on down to 

i'Liab's house with me. I'll take you for him, and him for you, as 

1 sureties, I don't suppose 'Liab'll be apt to run away, eh, and 

[lyou're worth enough for both." 

"What's this all about?" asked Nimbus. 

"Well, I suppose the old man Sykes got ye indicted under the 



236 Bricks Without Straw 

statute making it a misdemeanor, punishable with fine and im- 
prisonment, to coax, hire, or seduce away one's niggers after he's 
hired 'em. Just the same question as the other, only this is an 
indictment and that's a civil action — an action under the code, as 
they call it, since you Radicals tinkered over the law. One is for 
the damage to old man Sykes, and the other because it's a crime 
to coax off or harbor any one's hirelings." 

"Is dat de law, Mister Sheriff?" 

"Oh, yes, that's the law, fast enough. No trouble about that. 
Didn't know it, did you? Thought you could go and take a man's, 
"hands" right out from under his nose, and not get into trouble, 
about it, didn't ye?" 

"I t'ought dat when a man was free anudder could hire him, 
widout axin' leave of his marster. Dat's what I t'ought freedom 
meant." 

"Oh, not exactly; there's lots of freedom lyin' round loose, but 
it don't allow a man to hire another man's hands, nor give themi 
aid and comfort by harboring and feeding them when they break 
their contracts and run away. I reckon the old man's got you. 
Nimbus. If one hook don't catch, the other will. You've been 
harborin' the cuss, if you didn't entice him away, and that's just 
the same." 

"Ef you mean by harborin' that I tuk my wife's kinsman ir 
when ole Marse Sykes turned his family out in de big road like i 
damned ole rascal " 

"Hold on. Nimbus!" said the sheriff, with a dangerous light ir 
his cold gray eyes; "you'd better not talk like that about a whitt 
gentleman." 

"Whose ter hender my talkin', I'd like ter know? Hain't I jes 
de same right ter talk ez you er Marse Sykes, an' wouldn't yoi 
call me a damn rascal ef I'd done ez he did? Ain't I ez free ez h 
is?" 

"You ain't white!" hissed the sheriff. 

"No, an' it seems I ain't free, nuther!" was the hot replj 



The Majesty of the Law 237 

' "H'yer t'other night some damn scoundrels — I 'specs they wu2 

white, too, an' yer may tell 'em from me dat I called 'em jes what 

I did — come an' hung a board 'fore my gate threatening ter kill 

me an' 'Liab kase we's "too sassy,' so they sed. Now, 'Liab Hill ner 

' me nebber disturb nobody, an' nebber do nothin' only jes stan' 

' up for our own rights, respectful and peaceable-like; but we 

hain't ter be run down in no sech way. I'se a free man, an' ef I 

think a man's a gran' rascal I'se gwine ter say so, whether he's 

' black er white; an' ef enny on 'em comes ter Ku Klux me I'll put 

a bullet t' rough dem! I will, by God! Ef I breaks the law I'll take 

the consequences like a man, but I'll be damned ef ennybody 

shall Ku Kluck me without somebody's goin' 'long with me, 

" when I drops outen dis world! Dat much I'se sot on!" 

' The sheriff did not answer, only to say, "Careful, careful! 

There's them that would give you a high limb if they heard you 

" talk like that." 

? They went together to the house. The required bonds were 
- given, and the sheriff started off with a chuckle. He had hardly 
'passed out of sight when he checked his horse, returned, and 
1 calling Nimbus to the gate, said to him in a low tone: 
^ "See here. Nimbus, if you should ever get in the notion of 
selling this place, remember and let me have the first chance." 
I "All right, Marse Gleason." 

j "And see here, these little papers I've served to-day — you 
ineedn't have any trouble about them in that case. You under- 
5Stand," with a wink. 
1"! "Dunno ez I does, Marse Sheriff," stolidly. 

"Oh, well, if you sell to me, I'll take care of them, that's all." 
f "An' ef I don't?" 

I "Oh, well, in that case, you must look out for yourself." 
V He wheeled his horse and rode off with a mocking laugh. 

Nimbus returned to the porch of Eliab's house where the 
preacher sat thoughtfully scanning the summons and capias. 
"What you tink ob dis ting, 'Liab?" 



238 Bricks Without Straw 

"It is part of a plan to break you up, Nimbus," was the reply. 

"Dar ain't no sort ob doubt 'bout that, 'Liab," answered Nim- 
bus, doggedly, "an' dat ole Sheriff Gleason's jes' at de bottom ob 
it, I do b'lieve. But I ain't ter be druv off wid law-suits ner Ku 
Kluckers. I'se jest a gwine ter git a lawyer an' fight it out, dat I 
am." 



3 5 • A Particular Tenancy Lapses 



The second day after the visit of the sheriff, Nimbus was 
sitting on his porch after his day's work when there was a call at' 
his gate. 

Who's dar?" he cried, starting up and gazing through an open- 
ing in the honeysuckle which clambered up to the eaves and shut 
in the porch with a wall of fragrant green. Seeing one of his 
white neighbors, he went out to the gate, and after the usual 
salutations was greeted with these words: 

"I hear you's gwine to sell out an' leave, Nimbus?" 

"How'd ye hear dat?" 

"Wal, Sheriff Gleason's a' been tellin' of it 'round, and ther 
ain't no other talk 'round the country only that." fl 

"What 'ud I sell out an' leave for? Ain't I well 'nough oflf^ 
whar I is?" 

"The sheriff says you an' 'Liab Hill has been gittin' into some 
trouble with the law, and that the Ku Klux has got after you too 
so that if you don't leave you're likely to go to States prison oi 
have a whippin' or hangin' bee at your house afore you know it.' 



A Particular Tenancy Lapses 239 

^ "Jes let em come," said Nimbus, angrily — "Ku Kluckers or 

( sheriffs, it don't make no difference which, I reckon it's all 'bout 

]i one an' de same ennyhow. It's a damn shame too. Dar, when de 

j( 'lection come las' time we put Marse Gleason in agin, kase we 

hadn't nary white man in de county dat was fitten for it an' could 

give de bond; an' of co'se dere couldn't no cullu'd man give it. 

An' jes kase we let him hev it an' he's feared we mout change 

our minds now, here he is a runnin' 'roun' ter Ku Klux meetin's 

an' a tryin' ter stir up de bery ole debble, jes ter keep us cullu'd 

people from hevin' our rights. He can't do it wid me, dat's shore. 

I hain't done nuffin' an' I won't run. Ef I'd a-done ennythin' I'd 

iiun, kase I don't believe more'n ennybody else in a man's stayin' 

ter let de law git a holt on him; but when I hain't done nary ting, 

^ ither ain't nobody ez kin drive me outen my tracks." 

I) "But the Ku Klux mout lift ye outen 'em," said the other with 

a weak attempt at wit. 

; "J^s let 'em try it once!" said Nimbus, excitedly. "I'se purty 
.well prepared for 'em now, an' atter tomorrer I'll be jes ready for 
'em. I'se gwine ter Louisburg to-morrer, an' I 'How that atter I 
come back they won't keer ter meddle wid Nimbus. Tell yer 
,what, Mister Dossey, I bought dis place from ole Marse Desmit, 
[an' paid for it, ebbery cent; an' I swar I ain't a gwine ter let no 
man drive me offen it — nary foot. An' ef de Ku Klux comes, I'se 
jest a gwine ter kill de las' one I gits a chance at. Now, you min' 
what I say. Mister Dossey, kase I means ebbery word on't." 
||l The white man cowered before the other's energy. He was of 
{that class who were once denominated "poor whites." The war 
taught him that he was as good a man to stop bullets as one that 
t^was gentler bred, and during that struggle which the non-slave- 
holders fought at the beck and in the interest of the slaveholding 
jiristocracy, he had learned more of manhood than he had ever 
Dcnown before. In the old days his father had been an overseer on 
I plantation adjoining Knapp-of-Reeds, and as a boy he had that 
i icquaintance with Nimbus which every white boy had with the 



240 Bricks Without Straw 

neighboring colored lads — they hunted and fished together and 
were as near cronies as their color would allow. Since the war he 
had bought a place and by steady work had accumulated some 
money. His plantation was on the river and abutted on the 
eastern side with the property of Nimbus. After a moment's 
silence he said: 

"That reminds me of what I heard to-day. Your old Marse 
Potem is dead." 

"Yer don't say, now! " 

"Yes — died yesterday and will be buried to-morrow." 

"La, sakes! An' how's he lef ole Missus an' de gals, I wonder?" | 

"Mighty pore I'm afraid. They say he's been mighty bad off 
lately, an' what he's got won't more'n half pay his debts. I reckon i 
the widder an' chillen'U hev ter 'homestead it' the rest of their! 
lives." 

"Yer don't tink so? Wal, I do declar' hit's too bad. Ez rich ez 
he was, an' now ter come down ter be ez pore ez Nimbus — ^p'raps j 
poorer!" 

"It's might hard, that's sure. It was all along of the wah that] 
left everybody pore in this country, just as it made all the 
Yankees rich with bonds and sech-like." 

"Sho'! what's de use ob bein' a fool? 'Twan't de wah dat made 
Marse Desmit pore. 'Twuz dat ar damn fool business ob slavery! 
afo' de wah dat wound him up. Ef he'd never been a 'speculator' 
an' hadn't tried to grow rich a raisin' men an' wimmen foi! 
market he'd a been richer'n ever he was, when he died." 

"Oh, you're mistaken 'bout that, Nimbus. The wah ruined us 
all." ^ 

"Ha! ha! ha!" roared Nimbus, derisively. "What de wah ebbeii 
take from you, Mister Dossey, only jes yer oberseer's whip? An' 
dat wur de berry best ting ebber happen ter ye, kase it sot yer tc 
wuk an' put yer in de way ob makin' money for yerself. It was 
hard on sech ez ole Mahs'r, dat's a fac, even ef 'twas mostly his 



I 



! A Particular Tenancy Lapses 241 

iown fault; but it was worth a million ter sech ez you. You 'uns 
gained mo' by de outcome ob de wah, right away, dan we cullu'd 
i::olks'll ebber git, I'm afeared." 

1 "Yer may be right," said Dawsey, laughing, and with a touch 

)f pride in his tone. "I've done pretty well since the wah. An' 

hat brings me back to what I come over for. I thought I'd ax, if 

)''e should git in a notion of selling, what yer'd take fer yer place 

lere? 

\ "I hain't no idea uv selling. Mister Dossey, an' hain't no notion 
IV hevin' any 'nuther. You an' ebberybody else mout jest ez well 
'am, fust ez las', dat I shan't never sell only jes ter make money. 
iif I put a price on Red "Wing it'll be a big one; kase it ain't done 
iTOwing yet, an' I might jest ez well stay h'yr an' grow ez ter go 
(SCest an' grow up wid de kentry, ez dat fool Berry Lawson's 
.Hers tellin' about." 

?' "Wal, that's all right, only ef you ever want ter sell, reasona- 
gle-like, yer know who to come to for your money. Good-night!" 

The man was gathering up his reins when Nimbus said: 
3 "When did yer say ole Mahsr's funeral was gwine ter be?" 
: "To-morrow afternoon at four o'clock, I heerd." 

"Thank ye. I'se 'bout made up my mind ter go ter Louisburg 

3D-morrer, stay ter dat funeral, an' come back nex' day. Seems ter 

bie ole Mahs'r'd be kind o' glad ter see Nimbus at his funeral, fer 

oil I wan't no gret fav'rite o' his'n. He wa'nt sich a bad marster, 

n atter I bought Red Wing he use ter come ober ebbery now 

;i' agin, an' gib me a heap ob advice 'bout fixin' on it up. I alius 

I'.tened at him, tu, kase ef ennybody ever knowed nex' do' ter 

iberyting, dat ar man wuz ole Marse Potem. I'se sorry he's 

pad, I is; an' I'se mighty sorry for ole Missus an' de gals. An' I'se 

Vgwine ter go ter dat er funeral an' see him laid away, ef it do 

ike anudder day outen de crap; dat I is, shore." 

* "An' that 'minds me," said the white man, "that I heard at the 

Iftne time, that Walter Greer, who used to own the plantation 



242 Bricks Without Straw 

afore yer Marse Desmit bought it, died sometime lately, 'way out 
in Texas. It's quare, ain't it, that they should both go nigh about 
the same time. Good-night." 

The "poor-white" neighbor rode away, little dreaming that the 
colored man had estimated him aright, and accounted him only 
an emissary of his foes, nor did he comprehend the importance of 
the information he had given. 



36 • The Beacon-light of Love 



Mollie Ainslie had been absent from Red Wing more than a 
month. It was nearly midnight. The gibbous moon hung over th( 
western tree-tops. There was not a sound to be heard in the littk 
hamlet, but strangely draped figures might have been seen mov 
ing about in the open glades of the piney woods which skirtecj 
Red Wing upon the west. 

One after another they stole across the open space between th( 
church and the pine grove, in its rear, until a half-dozen h; 
collected in its shadow. One mounted on another's shoulders anc 
tried one of the windows. It yielded to his touch and he raised h 
without difficulty. He entered and another after him. Then twc 
or three strange-looking packages were handed up to them froni 
the outside. There was a whispered discussion, and then thf 
parties within were heard moving cautiously about and a stronj 
benzoic odor came from the upraised window. Now and then ji 
sharp metallic clang was heard from within. At length the tw* 
that had erxtered returned to the window. There was a whispere* 
consultation v/ith those upon the outside. One of these crep 



thd 






The Beacon-light of Love 243 

rarefully to the corner and gave a long low whistle. It was 
inswered after a moment's interval, first from one direction and 
hen from another, until every part of the little hamlet resounded 
vith short quick answers. Then the man at the corner of the 
church crept back and whispered, 
'' "All right! " 

One of the parties inside came out upon the window-sill and 

[topped lightly to the ground. The other mounted upon the 

yindow-sill, and turned round upon his knees; there was a gleam 

if light within the building, a flicker and a hiss, and then with a 

aighty roar the flame swept through it as if following the trail 

i if some combustible. Here and there it surged, down the aisles 

nd over the desks, white and clear, showing in sharpest silhou- 

;tte every curve and angle of building and furniture. The group 

't the window stood gazing within for a moment, the light 

i laying on their faces and making them seem ghastly and pale 

py the reflection; then they crept hastily back into the shadow of 

jijie wood — all but one, who, clad in the horribly grotesque habit 

t^f the Ku Klux Klan, stood at the detached bell-tower, and when 

ne flames burst forth from the windows solemnly tolled the bell 

■intil driven from his post by the heat. 

' One had hardly time to think, before the massive structure of 
I tried pitch-pine which northern charity had erected in the foolish 
Ijope of benefiting the freedmen, where the young teachers had 
3 bored with such devotion, and where so many of the despised 
nxe had laid the foundation of a knowledge that they vainly 
loped might lift them up into the perfect light of freedom, was a 
ojlid spire of sheeted flame. 

1 By its ghastly glare, in various parts of the village were to be 
t^en groups and single armed sentries, clad in black gowns which 
ill to their very feet, spire-pointed caps, grotesquely marked and 
I'achine far above the head, while from the base a flowing 
ftasque depended over the face and fell down upon the shoul- 

ts, hiding all the outlines of the figure. 



244 Bricks Without Straw 

The little village was taken completely by surprise. It had 
been agreed that the ringing of the church bell should be the 
signal for assembling at the church with such arms as they had to 
resist the Ku Klux. It had not been thought that the danger 
would be imminent until about the expiration of the time named 
in the notice; so that the watch which had been determined upon' 
had not been strictly kept, and on this night had been especially 
lax on one of the roads leading into the little hamlet. 

At the first stroke of the bell all the villagers were awake, and 
from half-opened doors and windows they took in the scen^ 
which the light of the moon and the glare of the crackling fire 
revealed. Then dusky-skinned forms stole hastily away into th^ 
shadows of the houses and fences, and through the rank-growing 
corn of the little truck-patches, to the woods and fields in thi 
rear. There were some who since the warning had not slept a 
home at all, but had occupied little leafy shelters in the bush an( 
half-hid burrows on the hillside. On the eyes of all these gleamec 
the blaze of the burning church, and each one felt, as he had 
never realized before, the strength of that mysterious band whicf 
was just putting forth its power to overturn and nullify a syster 
of laws that sought to clothe an inferior and servile race with thl 
rights and privileges theretofore exercised solely by the dominar 
one. 

Among those who looked upon this scene was Eliab Hill 
Sitting upon his bench he gazed through the low window of hi 
little cottage, the flame lighting up his pale face and his eyt* 
distended with terror. His clasped hands rested on the windovlj 
sill and his upturned eyes evidently sought for strength froi 
heaven to enable him manfully to perform the part he ha'J 
declared his determination to enact. What he saw was this: 

A company of masked men seemed to spring out of tl! 
ground around the house of Nimbus, and, at a whistle from oiB* 
of their number, began swiftly to close in upon it. There was 
quick rush and the door was burst open. There were screams ai 



I The Beacon-light of Love 245 

i 

)lows, angry words, and protestations within. After a moment a 
flight shot up and died quickly out again — one of the party had 
truck a match. Eliab heard the men cursing Lugena, and order- 
ing her to make up a light on the hearth. Then there were more 
':)lows, and the light shone upon the window. There were rough 
nquiries for the owner, and Eliab thanked God that his faithful 
ijriend was far away from the danger and devastation of that 
light. He wondered, dully, what would be his thought when he 
hould return on the morrow, and mark the destruction wrought 
a his absence, and tried to paint his rage. 

■ While he thought of these things the neighboring house was 
I ansacked from top to bottom. He heard the men cursing because 
heir search was fruitless. They brought out the wife, Lugena, 
nd two of her children, and coaxed and threatened them with- 
(Ut avail. A few blows were struck, but the wife and children 

■ coutly maintained that the husband and father was absent, 
ttending his old master's funeral, at Louisburg. The yellow light 

- if the blazing church shone on the house, and made fantastic 

[ladows all around. The lurid glare lighted up their faces and 

..ictured their terror. They were almost without clothing. Eliab 

, oticed that the hand that clasped Lugena's black arm below the 

L^and of the chemise was white and delicate. 

I ;) The wife and children were crying and moaning in terror and 

tiain. Oaths and blows were intermingled with questions in 

■sguised voices, and gasping broken answers. Blood was running 

,own the face of the wife. The younger children were screaming 

^i. the house. Children and women were shrieking in every 

;rection as they fled to the shelter of the surrounding woods. 

be flame roared and crackled as it licked the resin from the pine 

igs of the church and leaped aloft. It shone upon the glittering 

;edles of the surrounding pines, lighted up the ripening tobacco 

1 the hillside, sparkled in the dewy leaves of the honeysuckle 

hich clambered over the f reedman's house and hid the staring 

oon with its columns of black smoke. 



246 Bricks Without Straw 

The search for Nimbus proving unavailing — they scarcely 
seemed to expect to find him — they began to inquire of thel 
terror-stricken woman the whereabouts of his friend. 

"Where is 'Liab Hill?" asked the man who held her arm. 

"What have you done with that snivelling hop-toad minis- 
ter?" queried another. 

"Speak, damn you! and see that you tell the truth," said 
third, as he struck her over the bare shoulders with a stick. 

"Oh! don't! don't!" shrieked the poor woman as she writhed 
in agony. "I'll tell! I will, gentlemens — I will — I will! Oh, mj 
God! don't! don't!" she cried, as she leaped wildly about, tearing 
the one garment away in her efforts to avoid the blows which felj 
thick and fast on every part of her person, now fully exposed ii 
the bright light. 

"Speak, then!" said the man who held the goad. "Out with it! 
Tell where you've hid him!" 

"He ain't — here, gentlemen! He — he — don't — stay here ni 
mo'." 

Again the blows came thick and fast. She fell upon the groun 
and rolled in the dust to avoid them. Her round black limb 
glistened in the yellow light as she writed from side to side. 

"Here I am — here!" came a wild, shrill shriek from Eliab^ 
cabin. 

Casting a glance towards it, one of the men saw a blanche 
and pallid face pressed against the window and lighted by tb' 
blazing church — the face of him who was wont to minister thei^ 
to the people who did not know their own "best friends!" 

"There he is!" — "Bring the damn rascal out!" — "He's the or 
we want, anyhow!" 

These and numerous other shouts of similar character, be: 
upon the ears of the terrified watcher, as the crowd of maske 
marauders rushed towards the little cabin which had been h 
home ever since Red Wing had passed into the possession of ; 
present owner. It was the first building erected under the ne 



The Beacon-light of Love 247 

[proprietorship, and was substantially built of pine logs. The one 
5)low window and the door in front were the only openings cut 
ithrough the solidly- framed logs. The door was fastened with a 
heavy wooden bar which reached across the entire shutter and 
iiwas held in place by strong iron staples driven into the heavy 
door-posts. Above, it was strongly ceiled, but under the eaves 
were large openings made by the thick poles which had been 
used for rafters. If the owner had been capable of defense he 
;^could hardly have had a castle better adapted for a desperate and 
a successful struggle than this. 

ii Eliab Hill knew this, and for a moment his face flushed as he 

iisaw the crowd rush towards him, with the vain wish that he 

■might fight for his life and for his race. He had fully made up his 

imind to die at his post. He was not a brave man in one sense of 

,;:he word. A cripple never is. Compelled to acknowledge the 

ohysical superiority of others, year after year, he comes at length 

:o regard his own inferiority as a matter of course, and never 

i chinks of any movement which partakes of the aggressive. Eliab 

r^rlill had procured the strong bar and heavy staples for his door 

:,vhen first warned by the Klan, but he had never concocted any 

cheme of defense. He thought vaguely, as he saw them coming 

5 owards him in the bright moonlight and in the brighter glow of 

he burning sanctuary, that with a good repeating arm he might 

Hiot only sell his life dearly, but even repel the attack. It would be 

proud thing if he might do so. He was sorry he had not thought 

ii it before. He remembered the Spencer carbine which he had 

i fiven a few days before to Berry Lawson to clean and repair, and 

10 obtain cartridges of the proper calibre, in order that it might 

« used by some one in the defense of Red Wing. Berry had not 

! et remrned. He had never thought of using it himself, until that 

^.loment when he saw his enemies advancing upon him with wild 

ifties, and heard the roar of the flaming church. He was not a 

■ ero. On the contrary, he believed himself a coward. 

He was brave enough in suffering, but his courage was like 



248 Bricks Without Straw 

that of a woman. He was able and willing to endure the mosi 
terrible evils, but he did not think of doing brave things or 
achieving great acts. His courage was not aggressive. He could be 
killed, but did not think of killing. Not that he was averse tc 
taking life in self-defense, but he had been so long the creaturt 
of another's will in the matter of locomotion that it did not ocai 
to him to do otherwise than say: "Do with me as thou wilt. I an 
bound hand and foot. I cannot fight, but I can die." 

He shrank from acute pain with that peculiar terror which th 
confirmed invalid always exhibits, perhaps because he realizes it 
horror more than those who are usually exempt from its pang: 

As he pressed his face close to the flame-lighted pane, an' 
watched the group of grotesquely disguised men rushing towat 
his door, his eyes were full of wild terror and his face twitchet 
while his lips trembled and grew pale under the dark mustach 
There was a rush against the door, but it did not yield. Anothc 
and another; but the heavy bar and strong staples held it fas 
Then his name was called, but he did not answer. Drawing h 
head quickly from the window, he closed the heavy woode 
shutter, which fitted closely into the frame on the inside, ar 
fastened it with a bar like that upon the door. Hardly had 1 
done so when a blow shattered the window. Something w' 
thrust in and passed around the opening, trying here and there 
force open the shutter, but in vain. Then it was pressed agair 
the bottom, just where the shutter rested on the window-si 
There was an instant's silence save that Eliab Hill heard a cli 
which he thought was caused by the cocking of a revolver, a- 
threw himself quickly down upon his bench. There was a sha 
explosion, a jarring crash as the ball tore through the woodwo 
and hurtling across the room buried itself in the opposite w£ 
Then there were several shots fired at the door. One man founi 
little hole in the chinking, between two of the logs, and putti 
his revolver through, fired again and again, sending spits of 1 
flame and sharp spiteful reverberations through the darkness 
the cabin. 



;rc 



The Beacon-light of Love 249 

Eliab Hill watched all this with fixed, staring eyes and teeth 

lj;et, but did not move or speak. He scrambled off the bench, and 

jirawled, in his queer tri-pedal fashion, to the cot, crept into it, 

,md with hands clasped, sat bolt upright on the pillow. He set his 

jDack against the wall, and, facing the door, waited for the end. 

ie wished that some of the bullets that were fired might pierce 

lis heart. He even prayed that his doom might come sharp and 

wift — that he might be saved from tormre — might be spared the 

ish. He only feared lest his manhood should fail him in the 

, resence of impending suffering. 

I There came a rush against the door with some heavy timber. 
; ■ le guessed that it was the log from the hitching rack in front of 

Jimbus' house. But the strong bar did not yield. They called out 
is name again, and assured him that if he did not undo the door 
ley would fire the house. A strange look of relief, even of joy, 

passed over his face as he heard this declaration. He clasped his 
D.ands across his breast as he sat upon the bed, and his lips moved 

I I prayer. He was not afraid to die, but he was afraid that he 
Maight not be strong enough to endure all the pain that might be 

psed by torture, without betraying his suffering or debasing his 
jianhood. He felt very weak and was glad to know that fire and 
,|noke would hide his groans and tears. 

S While he waited for the hissing of the flame the blows of an 
ice resounded on the door. It was wielded by stalwart hands, and 
je long the glare from without shone through the double 

f flanking. 
' "Hello, 'Liab — 'Liab Hill!" cried a voice at the opening which 
ip'emed to the quiet listener within strangely like that of Sheriff 
Reason. "Damn me, boys, if I don't believe you've killed the 
_^ ^ger, shooting in there. Hadn't we better just set the cabin afire 
diet it burn?" 
Put in your hand and see if you can't lift the bar," said 

jiother. "I'd like to know whether the scoundrel is dead or alive. 

)i» I. 

■ jiisides that, I don't fancy this burning houses. I don't object to 
■'nging a sassy nigger, or anything of that kind, but burning a 



ioii 



250 Bricks Without Straw 

house is a different matter. That's almost too mean for a white 
man to do. It's kind of a nigger business, to my notion." 

"For instance!" said another, with a laugh, pointing to the 
blazing church. 

"Oh, damn it! " said the former, "that's another thing. A damn 
nigger school-house ain't of no more account than a brush-pile, 
anyhow." 

A hand was thrust through the opening and the bar lifted; 
from one socket and drawn out of the other. Then the door flew, 
open and a half dozen men rushed into the room. The foremost 
fell over the rolling chair which had been left near the door, and; 
the others in turn fell over him. 

"What the hell!" cried one."Here, bring the light here. What 
is this thing anyhow?" 

The light was brought, and the voice continued: "Damned if 
it ain't the critter's go-cart. Here kick the damn thing out — smash 
it up! Such things ain't made for niggers to ride on, anyhow. He 
won't need it any more — not after we have got through with 
him. 

"That he won't!" said another, as the invalid's chair which hac 
first given Eliab Hill power to move himself about was kickeq 
out of the door and broken into pieces with blows of the axe. 

Eliab Hill felt as if a part of his life was already destroyed. H( 
groaned for the fate of this inseparable companion of all hi 
independent existence. It had grown dearer to him than he kne^ 
It hurt him, even then, to hear the coarse, grim jests which wer 
uttered as its finely-wrought frame cracked beneath the blows c 
the axe, and its luxurious belongings were rent and torn by th 
hands that would soon rend and tear its owner. He had come t 
look upon the insensate machine with a passionate regard. Whil 
it seemed like tearing away his limbs to take it from him, ye 
there was a feeling of separate animate existence about it whic. 
one never feels towards his own members. He had petted an 
polished and cared for this strong, pretty, and easily worke^ 



I 

I The "Best Friends" Reveal Themselves 251 

k combination of levers and springs and wheels that had served 
ihim so faithfully, until it seemed to his fancy like an old and 
ifValued friend. 



37 • The "Best Friends" 
Reveal Themselves 



"Bring a light!" shouted the leader. One of the men rushed 
pinto the house of Nimbus, and snatched a flaming brand from 
i:he hearth. As he ran with it out of the front door, he did not see 
I giant form which leaped from the waving corn and sprang into 
J:he back door. The black foot was bare and made no sound as it 
2:ell upon the threshold. He did not see the black, furious face or 

he right arm, bared above the elbow, which snatched a saber 
from the top of a cupboard. He did not see the glaring, murder- 
[|)us eyes that peered through the vine-leaves as he rushed, with 
Siis flaming brand aloft, out of the house to the hut of Eliab. As 
ne reached the door the light fell upon the preacher, who sat 
(ipon the bed. The fear of death had passed away — even the fear 
!:'f suffering was gone. His lips moved in prayer, the forgiving 
>r/ords mingling with the curses of his assailants: "O God, my 
3jielp and my shield!" ("Here he is, God damn him!") "Forgive 

' tiem, Father — " {"I've got him!") "They know not a — h!" 

' A long, shrill shriek — the voice of a man overborne by mortal 
! gony — sounded above the clamor of curses, and above the roar 

f the blazing church. There was a fall upon the cabin floor — the 



252 Bricks Without Straw 

grating sound of a body swiftly drawn along its surface — and one 
of the masked marauders rushed out dragging by the foot the 
preacher of the Gospel of Peace. The withered leg was straight- 
ened. The weakened sinews were torn asunder, and as his captor 
dragged him out into the light and flung the burden away, the 
limb dropped, lax and nerveless, to the ground. Then there were 
blows and kicks and curses from the crowd, which rushed uponi 
him. In the midst, one held aloft a blazing brand. Groans and 
fragments of prayer came up through the din.* 

All at once there was a roar as of a desert lion bursting from' 
its lair. They looked and saw a huge black form leap from the! 
porch of the other house and bound toward them. He was on' 
them in a minute. There was the swish of a saber swung by a' 
practiced hand, and the high-peaked mask of the leader bent 
over the hissing blade, and was stripped away, leaving a pale, 
affrighted face glaring stupidly at the ebon angel of wrath in the! 
lurid fire-light. A fearful oath came through the white, strong 
teeth, which showed hard-set below the moustache. Again the 
saber whistled round the head of the avenger. There was 
shriek of mortal agony, and one of the masqueraders fell. The 
others shrunk back. One fired a shot. The man with the torcl 
stood for the moment as though transfixed, with the glaring lighi 
still held aloft. Then, with his revolver, he aimed a close, sur 
shot at the dusky giant whom he watched. 

Suddenly he saw a woman's naked figure, that seemed to ris( 
from the ground. There was a gleam of steel, and then dowr 
through mask and flesh and bone crashed the axe which ha( 
fallen by the door step, and the blood spurted upon Lugena' 

* Those who are interested in such matters may find some cur 
ously exact parallels of the characters and incidents of this chapte 
testified to under oath in the "Report of the Committee on Ku-Klujjj 
Outrages in the Southern States." The facts are of no special intereslj 
however, except as illustrations of the underlying spirit and cause (' 
this strange epidemic of violence. 



! The "Best Friends" Reveal Themselves 253 

^unclothed form and into the face of the prostrate Eliab, as the 

ijholder of the torch fell beside him. Then the others gave way, 

jind the two black forms pursued. There were some wild shots 

,ared back, as they fled toward the wood beyond the road. 

, Then from its depths came a flash and a roar. A ball went 

-iihrieking by them and flew away into the darkness beyond. 

Another, and another and another! It was not the sharp, short 

Jxack of the revolver, but the fierce angry challenge of the rifle. 

rhey had heard it before upon the battle-field, and terror lent 

^hem wings as they fled. The hurtling missiles flew here and 

jihere, wherever a masked form could be seen, and pursued their 

fleeing shadows into the wood, glancing from tree to tree, cutting 

hrough spine and branch and splintering bole, until the last 

icho of their footsteps had died away. 

1 Then all was still, except the roar of the burning church and 
j,ie solemn soughing of the pines, as the rising west wind rustled 
jieir branches. 
Nimbus and his wife stood listening in the shade of a low oak, 
etween the scene of conflict and the highway. No sound of the 
'jying enemy could be heard. 

^ "Nimbus! Oh, Nimbus!" the words came in a strained, low 
jhisper from the unclad figure at his side. 
': "Wal, 'Gena?" 

"Is you hurt, honey?" 
^ "Nary bit. How should I be? They run away ez quick ez I 
,i'me. Did they 'buse you, 'Gena?" 

. "None of enny 'count," she answered, cautiously, for fear of 
,ising his anger to a point beyond control — "only jest a tryin' ter 
ake me tell what you was — you an' 'Liab." 
' "Whar's yer clo'es, honey?" 

"In de house, dar, only what I tore, getting away from 'em." 
' "An de chillen?" 

' "Dey's run out an' hid somewheres. Dey scattered like young 
'tridges." 



254 Bricks Without Straw 

"Dey's been hunted like 'em too, eh?" 

He lays his hand in caution upon the bare shoulder next him, 
and they both crouch closer in the shadow and listen. All is quiet,! 
except groans and stertorous breathing near the cabin. 

"It's one of them damned villains. Let me settle him!" saic 
Nimbus. 

Don't, don't!" cried Lugena, as she threw her arms about his 
neck. "Please don't, honey!" 

"P'raps it's Bre'er 'Liab! Let me go!" he said, hastily. 

Cautiously they started back through the strip of yellow light 
which lay between them and the cabin of Eliab. They could noi 
believe that their persecutors were indeed gone. Nimbus's hand 
still clutched the saber, and Lugena had picked up the axe whicl 
she had dropped. 

The groaning came indeed from Eliab. He had partially re' 
covered from the unconsciousness which had come over hin 
while undergoing torture, and with returning animation ha< 
come the sense of acute suffering from the injuries he hai 
received. 

"Bre'er 'Liab!" whispered Nimbus, bending over him. 

"Is that you, Nimbus?" asked the stricken man in surprise! 
"How do you come to be here?" 

"Jes tuk it inter my head ter come home atter de funeril, a^ 
done got here jest in time ter take a han' in what was gwine on] 

"Is the church all burned down. Nimbus?" 

"De ruf hez all fell in. De sides '11 burn a long while ye 
Dey'se logs, yer know." 

"Did 'Gena get away. Nimbus?" 

"Here I is, Bre'er 'Liab." 

"Is anybody hurt?" K 

"Not ez we knows on, 'cept two dat's lyin' on de groun rig«i$ 
h'yer by ye," said Nimbus. 

"Dead?" asked 'Liab, with a shudder. He tried to raise hims^ 
up but sank back with a groan. 



The "Best Friends" Reveal Themselves 255 

"Oh, Bre'er 'Liab! Bre'er 'Liab!" cried Nimbus, his distress 
jivercoming his fear, "is you hurt bad? My God!" he continued, 
cS he raised his friend's head and saw that he had lapsed again 
ito insensibihty, "my God! 'Gena, he's dead!" 
[j He withdrew the hand he had placed under the shoulders of 
be prostrate man. It was covered with blood. 
r "Sh — sh! You hear dat, Nimbus?" asked Lugena, in a choked 
/hisper, as she started up and peered toward the road. "Oh, 
limbus, run! run! Do, honey, do! Dar dey comes! Dey'll kill 
;,ou, shore!" 

( She caught her husband by the arm, and endeavored to drag 
jim into the shadow of the cabin. 
j "I can't leave Bre'er 'Liab," said Nimbus, doggedly. 
' "Yer can't help him. Yer'll jes stay an' be killed ye'self! Dar 
ow, listen at dat!" cried the trembling woman. 
'} The sound to which she referred was that of hurried footfalls 
- the road beyond their house. Nimbus heard it, and stooping 
-/er his insensible friend, raised him in his arms and dashed 
ound the cabin into the rank-growing corn beyond. His wife 
illowed for a few steps, still carrying the axe. Then she turned 
;id peered through the corn-rows, determined to cover her 
lisband's retreat should danger threaten him from that direc- 
. i )n. After waiting awhile and hearing nothing more, she con- 
yuded to go to the house, get some clothing, and endeavor to 
lly her scattered brood. 

.1 Stealing softly up to the back door — the fire had died out upon 

e hearth — she entered cautiously, and after glancing through 

e shaded porch began to dress. She had donned her clothing 

d taken up her shoes preparatory to going back to the shelter 

the cornfield, when she thought she heard a stealthy footstep 

the porch. Her heart stood still with terror. She listened 

sathlessly. It came again. There was no doubt of it now — a 

-•w, stealthy step! A board creaked, and then all was still. 

jain! Thank God it was a bare foot! Her heart took hope. She 



256 Bricks Without Straw 

stole to the open door and peeped out. There, in the half shadow 
of the flame- lit porch, she saw Berry Lawson stealing toward her. 
She almost screamed for joy. Stepping into the doorway shei 
whispered, 

"Berry!" 

"Is dat you, 'Gena?" whispered that worthy, tiptoeing hastily 
forward and stepping into the shadow within the room. "How'd 
yer manage ter live t'rough dis yer night, 'Gena? An' whar'^ 
Nimbus an' de chillen?" 

These questions being hastily answered, Lugena began to in^ 
quire in regard to his presence there. 

"Whar I come from? Jes got back from Bre'er Rufe's house 
Druv at night jes ter save de mornin' ter walk back in. Lef Sail] 
an' de chillen dar all right. When I come putty nigh ter Reo 
Wing I sees de light o' de fire, an' presently I sez to myself, sez I 
'Berry, dat ain't no common fire, now. Ain't many houses in thj 
kentry roun' make sech a fire ez dat. Dat mus' be de churcl 
Berry.' Den I members 'bout de Ku Kluckers, an' I sez ter mysel 
agin, sez I, 'Berry, dem rascals hez come ter Red Wing an' 
raisin' de debble dar now, jes dere own way.' Den I runs de mul 
and de carryall inter de woods, 'bout a mile down de road, an' 
takes out Bre'er 'Liab's gun, dat I'd borrered fer company, y£ 
know, an' hed got some cattridges fer, ober at Lewyburg, an' 
comes on ter take a han' in — ef dar wa'n't no danger, yer knc? 
honey. 

"When I gits ober in de woods, dar, I heah de wust sort c! 
hullabaloo ober h'yer 'bout whar Bre'er 'Liab's house was — hdM\ 
lerin' an' screamin' an' cussin' an' fightin'. I couldn't make it aij 
out, but I 'llowed dat Nimbus wuz a-habbin' a hell ob a time, a 
ef I wuz gwine ter do anyting, dat wuz about de right time k 
me ter put in. So I rested dis yer ole gal," patting the carbine !! 
his hand, "agin a tree an' jes slung a bullet squar ober dere heac 
Ye see, I dassent shoot too low, fer fear ob hurtin' some of r 
fren's. 'D'ye heah dat shot, 'Gena? Lord! how de old gal d 
holler. 'Pears like I nebber hear a cannon sound so big. De P 



i 



I The "Best Friends" Reveal Themselves 257 

(Lluckers 'peared ter hear it too, fer dey corned squar outen h'yer 
jsater de big road. Den I opened up an' let her bark at 'em ez long 
Iz I could see a shadder ter pull trigger on. Wonder ef I hurt 
nny on 'em. D'yer know, 'Gena, wuz enny on 'em killed?" 
: "Dar's two on 'em a layin' out dar by 'Liab's house," said the 
li/oman. 

V "Yer don't say so!" said Berry with a start. "La, sakes! what's 
jit?" he continued, breathlessly, as a strange sound was heard in 
le direction indicated. They stole out upon the porch, and as 
iiey peered through the clustering vine-leaves a ghastly specta- 
i e presented itself to their eyes. 

i One of the prostrate forms had risen and was groping around 
1:1 its hands and knees, uttering a strange moaning sound. Pres- 
i^itly it staggered to its feet, and after some vain efforts seized the 
bask, the long flowing cape attached to which fell down upon 
e shoulders, and tore it away. The pale, distorted face with a 
fOody channel down the middle was turned inquiringly this way 
^iid that. The man put his hand to his forehead as if to collect his 
j oughts. Then he tried to utter a cry; the jaw moved, but only 
iiintelligible sounds were heard. 

•J Lugena heard the click of the gun lock, and turning, laid her 
nd on Berry, as she said, 
tr'Don't shoot! 'Tain't no use!" 

'f Yer right, it ain't," said Berry with chattering teeth. "Who 

ber seed a man walkin' 'roun' wid his head split wide open 

r)'?" 

. l-lThe figure staggered on, looked a moment at the house, turned 

Vivard the burning church, and then, seeming to recall what had 

ppened, at once assumed a stealthy demeanor, and, still stag- 

. fkig as it went, crept off toward the gate, out of which it passed 

■d went unsteadily off down the road. 

f"Dar ain't no sort of use o' his dodgin' 'round," said Berry, as 
'!' footsteps died away. "De berry debble 'd gib him de road, 
. «;Jiytime." 
r, eA.s he spoke, a whistle sounded down the road. Berry and 



258 Bricks Without Straw 

Lugena instantly sought shelter in the corn. Crouching low j 
between the rows, they saw four men come cautiously into the I 
yard, examine the prostrate man that remained, and bear him off ! 
between them, using for a stretcher the pieces of the coffin- i 
shaped board which had been hung upon the gate two weeks 
before. 



I 
i 
1 

38 • "The Rose Above the Mould" 

i 

The convalescence of Mollie Ainslie was very rapid, and a fe^ 
days after the crisis of her disease her attendants were able tc 
return to their homes at Red Wing. Great was the rejoicing thed 
over the recovery of their favorite teacher. The school had beei| 
greatly crippled by her absence and showed, even in that brie 
period, how much was due to her ability and skill. Everybod; 
was clamorous for her immediate return — everybody except Elia' 
Hill, who after an almost sleepless night sent a letter beggin; 
her not to return for a considerable time. ■ 

It was a strangely earnest letter for one of its apparent impor 
The writer dwelt at considerable length upon the insidious arf Ss 
treacherous character of the disease from which she was recover ife 
ing. He grew eloquent as he detailed all that the people of Repj 
Wing owed to her exertions in their behalf, and told how, yeiifti 
after year, without any vacation, she had labored for them. Pfe 
showed that this must have been a strain upon her vital energie'|;[o 
and pointed out the danger of relapse should she resume h 
duties before she had fully recovered. He begged her, therefoi , - 



"The Rose Above the Mould" 259 

ip remain at Mulberry Hill at least a month longer; and, to 

ifSUpport his request, informed her that with the advice and 

(Consent of the Superintendent he had dismissed the school until 

aihat time. He took especial pains, too, to prevent the report of 

ihe threatened difficulty from coming to her ears. This was the 

nore easily accomplished from the fact that those who had 

pprehended trouble were afraid of being deemed cowardly if 

hey acknowledged their belief. So, while the greater number of 

he men in the little hamlet were accustomed to sleep in the 

leighboring thickets, in order to be out of harm's way should the 

IvL Klux come to make good their decree, very little was said, 

ven among themselves, about the threatened attack. 

\ In utter unconsciousness, therefore, of the fate that brooded 

iiver those in whom she took so deep an interest, Mollie aban- 

oned herself to the restful delights of convalescence. She soon 

ound herself able to visit the room of the confirmed invalid 

; blow, and though she seemed to detect a sort of coolness in her 

hianner she did not dream of associating the change with herself. 

)he attributed it entirely to the sore affliction which had fallen 

5pon the household since her arrival, and which, she charitably 

[ii;asoned, her own recovery must revive in their minds in full 

])rce. So she pardoned the fair, frail invalid who, reclining 

!l:.nguidly upon the couch, asked as to her health and congratu- 

ited her in cool, set phrases upon her recovery. 

Such was not the case, however, with her host. There were 
Kiars in his eyes when he met her on the landing for the first time 
3:ter she left her sick-bed. She knew they were for the little 
>' ildreth whom she had nursed and whom her presence recalled, 
ind yet there was a gleam in his eyes which was not altogether 
;« sorrow. She, too, mourned for the sweet child whom she had 
larned to love, and her eyes responded to the tender challenge 
jith copious tears. Yet her own feelings were not entirely sad. 

le did not know why. She did not stop to analyze or reason. She 
jily gave him her hand — how thin and white it was compared 



26o Bricks Without Straw 

with the first time he had seen her and had noted its soft 
plumpness! 

Their lips quivered so that they could not speak. He held her 
hand and assisted the servant in leading her into the parlor. She 
was still so weak that they had to lay her on the sofa. Hesden Le 
Moyne bent over her for a little while, and then hurried away. 
He had not said a word, and both had wept; yet, as she closed her 
eyes after he had gone she was vaguely conscious that she had 
never been so happy before in her life. So the days wore on, 
quietly and swiftly, full of a tender sorrow tempered with an 
undefined joy. Day by day she grew stronger and brighter,! 
needing less of assistance but receiving even more of attention 
from the stricken father of her late charge. 

"You have not asked about Satan," said Mr. Le Moyne sud- 
denly one day. 

"Why should I?" she replied, with an arch look. "If that 
personage will be equally forgetful of me I am sure I shall be 
very glad." 

"Oh, I mean your horse — Midnight, as you call him," laughec^ 
Hesden. 

"So I supposed," she replied. "I have a dim notion that you 
applied that epithet to him on the night of my arrival. Your, 
mother, too, said something about 'Satan,' that night, which I 
remember puzzled me very greatly at the moment, but I was too 
much flustered to ask about it just then. Thinking of it afterward 
I concluded that she intended to refer to my black-skinned petj 
But why do you give him that name?" 

"Because that was the first name he ever knew," answered 
Hesden, with an amused smile. 

"The first name he ever knew? I don't understand you," shi 
replied. "My brother captured him at Appomattox, or near therq 
and named him Midnight, and Midnight he has been ever since.' 

"Very true," said Hesden, "but he was Satan before that, anc 
very well earned this name, in his young days." 



I 

"The Rose Above the Mould" 261 

\ "In his young days?" she asked, turning towards him in sur- 
jrise. "Did you know him then?" 

■ "Very well, indeed," he replied, smiling at her eagerness. "He 

' vas raised on this plantation and never knew any other master 

Shan me until that day at Rouse's Bridge." 

( "Why, that is the very place my brother captured him, I 
emember the name now that you mention it!" she exclaimed. 

' "Is it anything surprising," said he, "that the day I lost him 

i'hould be the day he captured him?" 

" "No — not exactly — ^but then" — she paused in confusion as she 

'^lanced at the empty sleeve which was pinned across his breast. 

' "Yes," said he, noticing her look, "I lost that there," pointing 
i) the empty sleeve as he spoke; "and though it was a sore loss to 

^ young man who prided himself somewhat on his physical 

ctivity, I believe I mourned the horse more than I did the arm." 

"But my brother — " she began with a frightened look into his 

ice. 

"Well, he must have been in my immediate vicinity, for Satan 

'as the best- trained horse in the squadron. Even after I was 

ismounted, he would not have failed to keep his place in the 

'inks when the retreat was sounded, unless an unusually good 

brseman were on his back." 

^ "My brother said he had as hard a struggle with him then as 
"'i had with his rider before," she said, looking shyly up. 
' "Indeed! I am obliged to him," he responded with a smile. 
IThe commendation of an enemy is always pleasant to a soldier." 
I "Oh, he said you were terribly bloodthirsty and rode at him as 
^ nothing would satisfy you but his life," she said, with great 
gerness. 

"Very likely," he answered, lightly. "I have some reputation 

^r directness of purpose, and that was a moment of desperation. 

-'e did not know whether we should come back or not, and did 

'It care. We knew that the end was very near, and few of us 

shed to outlive it. Not that we cared so much — many of us at 



! 



262 Bricks Without Straw 

least — for the cause we fought for; but we dreaded the humilia- 
tion of surrender and the stigma of defeat. We felt the disgrace 
to our people with a keenness that no one can appreciate who 
has not been in like circumstances. I was opposed to the war 
myself, but I would rather have died than have lived to see the 
surrender." 

"It must have been hard," she said, softly. 1 

"Hard!" he exclaimed. "I should think it was! But then," he 
added, his brow suddenly clearing, "next to the fact of surrender 
I dreaded the loss of my horse. I even contemplated shooting him 
to prevent his falling into the hands of the enemy." 

"My brother thought you were rather anxious to throw away 
your own life," she said, musingly. 

"No," he answered, "just indifferent. I wonder if I saw him at' 
all." 

"Oh, you must, for you — " she began eagerly, but stopped iri 
confusion. I 

"Well, what did I do? Nothing very bad, I hope?" he asked. ' 

"Well, you left an ugly scar on a very smooth forehead, ii 
you call that bad, sir," she said, archly. 

"Indeed! Of course I do," was the reply, but his tone indicated 
that he was thinking less of the atrocity which she had laid to hi; 
charge than of the events of that last day of battle. "Let me see,'' 
said he, musingly. "I had a sharp turn with a fellow on a grai 
horse. He was a slender, fair-haired man" — looking down at th( 
figure on the sofa behind which he stood as if to note if then 
were any resemblance. "He was tall, as tall as I am, I should say! Ii 
and I thought — I was of the impression — that he was of highefc? 
rank than a captain. He was somewhat in advance of his line anil 
right in my path. I remember thinking, as I crossed swords wit 
him that if — if we were both killed, the odds would be in favc 
of our side. He must have been a colonel at least, or I w£ 
mistaken in his shoulder-straps." 

"My brother was a colonel of volunteers," she said, quietl; 



in 



"The Rose Above the Mould" 263 

j'He was only a captain, however, after his transfer to the regular 

jirmy." 

, "Indeed! " said he with new interest. "What was he like?" 

J For answer Mollie put her hand to her throat, and opening a 

|ti;old locket which she wore, held up the case so far as the chain 
vould allow while Hesden bent over to look at it. His face was 
ery near her own, and she noted the eagerness with which he 

[Canned the picture. 

; "Yes, that is the man!" he said at length, with something like 

1 sigh. "I hope I did not injure him seriously." 
"Only his beauty," she replied, pleasantly. 

: "Of which, judging from what I see," he said saucily, letting 

iis eyes wander from the miniature to her face, "he could afford 

) lose a good deal and yet not suffer by comparison with others." 

It was a bold, blunt compliment, yet it was uttered with 

vident sincerity; but she had turned the locket so that she could 

;e the likeness and did not catch the double meaning of his 

ords. So she only answered calmly and earnestly, 

"He was a good brother." 

A shadow passed over his face as he noticed her inattention to 
jis compliment, but he added heartily, 

i "And a gallant one. I am glad that my horse fell into his 
)inds." 

1 She looked at him and said, 
] "You were very fond of your horse?" 

) "Yes, indeed!" he answered. "He was a great pet before we 
iiient into the service, and my constant companion for nearly 
i ree years of that struggle. But come out on the porch, and let 
[e show you some of the tricks I taught him, and you will not 
,ily understand how I prized him, but will appreciate his sagac- 
-r more than you do now," 

", He assisted her to a rocking chair upon the porch, and, bidding 
servant to bring out the horse, said: 
"You must remember that I have but one arm and have not 



264 Bricks Without Straw 

seen him, until lately, at least, for five years. "Poor old fellow!" 
he added, as he went down the steps of the porch, and told the 
servant to turn him loose. He called him up with a snap of his 
thumb and finger as he entered the yard and patted his head 
which was stretched out to receive the caress. "Poor fellow! he is 
not so young as he was then, though he has had good care. The 
gray hairs are beginning to show on his muzzle, and I can detect, 
though no one else might notice them, the wrinkles coming 
about his eyes. Let me see, you are only nine years old, though, — \ 
nine past. But it's the war that tells — tells on horses just as wellj 
as men. You ought to be credited with about five years for whati 
you went through then, old fellow. And a man — Do you know," 
Miss Mollie," he said, breaking suddenly off — "that a man who 
was in that war, even if he did not get a shot, discounted his life* 
about ten years? It was the wear and tear of the struggle. We are 
different from other nations. We have no professional soldiers — 
at least none to speak of. To such, war is merely a business and 
peace an interlude. There is no mental strain in their case. But ic 
our war we were all volunteers. Every man, on both sides, wen' 
into the army with the fate of a nation resting on his shoulders 
and because he felt the burden of responsibility. It was tha 
which killed — killed and weakened — more than shot and shel 
and frost and heat together. And then — what came afterward?' 

He turned towards her as he spoke, his hand still resting 01 
the neck of the horse which was rubbing against him an< 
playfully nipping at him with his teeth, in manifestation of hi 
delight. 

Her face had settled into firm, hard lines. She seemed to h; 
looking beyond him, and the gray coldness which we saw abop,' 
her face when she read the telegram in the far-away Bankshiij 
hills, settled on cheek and brow again, as she slowly repeated, ^': 
though unconscious of their meaning, the lines: 

In the world's broad field of battle, 
In the bivouac of Life, 



5 



What the Mist Hid 265 

Be not like dumb, driven cattle! 
J Be a hero in the strife! 

Hesden Le Moyne gazed at her a moment in confused wonder, 
pirhen he turned to the horse and made him perform various 
I tricks at his bidding. He made him back away from him as far as 
fie chose by the motion of his hand, and then, by reversing the 
j:7esture, brought him bounding back again. The horse lifted 
Mther foot at his instance, lay down, rolled over, stood upon his 
■iiind feet, and finally knelt upon the edge of the porch in 
^obeisance to his mistress, who sat looking, although in a preoccu- 
pied manner, at all that was done. Hesden Le Moyne was sur- 
porised and somewhat disappointed at her lack of enthusiasm over 
hvhat he thought would give her so much pleasure. She thanked 
lim absently when it was over, and retired to her own room. 



39 • What the Mist Hid 



El The darkness was already giving way to the gray light of a 
listy morning following the attack on Red Wing. The mocking 
: irds, one after another, were responding to each other's calls, at 
itat sleepily and unwillingly, as though the imprisoned melody 
jt:)mpelled expression, and then, thoroughly aroused and perched 
bon the highest dew-laden branches swaying and tossing be- 
neath them, they poured forth their rival orisons. Other sounds 
rising day were coming through the mist that still hung over 
e land, shutting out the brightness which was marching from 
e eastward. The crowing of cocks, the neighing of horses, and 



266 Bricks Without Straw 

the lowing of cattle resounded from hill to hill across the wide 
bottom-lands and up and down the river upon either hand. 
Nature was waking from slumber — not to the full, boisterous 
wakefulness which greets the broad day, but the half-conscious- 
ness with which the sluggard turns himself for the light, sweet 
sleep of the summer morning. 

There was a tap at the open window that stood at the head of 
Hesden Le Moyne's bed. His room was across the hall from his 
mother's, and upon the same floor. It had been his room from 
childhood. The window opened upon the wide, low porch which 
ran along three sides of the great rambling house. Hesden heard 
the tap, but it only served to send his half-awakened fancy on a 
fantastic trip through dreamland. Again came the low, inquiring 
tap, this time upon the headboard of the old mahogany bedstead. 
He thought it was one of the servants coming for orders about 
the day's labors. He wondered, vaguely and dully, what could be 
wanted. Perhaps they would go away if he did not move. Again 
it came, cautious and low, but firm and imperative, made by the 
nail of one finger struck sharply and regularly against the pol- 
ished headboard. It was a summons and a command for silence at i 
once. Hesden raised himself quickly and looked toward the 
window. The outline of a human figure showed dimly against the 
gray darkness beyond. 

"Who's there?" — in a low, quiet voice, as though caution had 
been distinctly enjoined. 'M 

"Marse Hesden!" — a low whisper, full of suppressed excite-^ 
ment. 

"You, Nimbus?" said Le Moyne, as he stepped quickly out of : 
bed and approached the window. "What's the matter?" 

"Marse Hesden," whispered the colored man, laying a hand 
trembling with excitement on his shoulder as he came near, "is 
yer a friend ter 'Liab Hill?" tt 

"Of course I am; you know that" — in an impatient undertone; ' 

"Sh — sh! Marse Hesden, don't make no noise, please," whis- 



What the Mist Hid 267 

; pered Nimbus. "I don't mean ter ax ef yer's jes got nothin' agin' 
,him, but is yer that kind ob a friend ez '11 stan' by him in 
■ trouble?" 

"What do you mean, Nimbus?" asked Hesden in surprise. 
; "Will yer come wid me, Marse Hesden — slip on yer clo'es an' 
come wid me, jist a minnit?" 

K Hesden did not think of denying this request. It was evident 
Jithat something of grave importance had occurred. Hardly a 
r moment had elapsed before he stepped cautiously out upon the 
i; porch and followed Nimbus. The latter led the way quickly 
ii toward a spring which burst out of the hillside fifty yards away 
, from the house, at the foot of a giant oak. Lying in the shadow of 
ithis tree and reclining against its base, lay Eliab Hill, his pallid 
jface showing through the darkness like the face of the dead. 
J A few words served to tell Hesden Le Moyne what the reader 
talready knows. 

I "I brought him here, Marse Hesden, kase ther ain't no place 
|;lse dat he'd be safe whar he could be tuk keer on. Dem ar 
oiKluckers is bound ter kill him ef dey kin. He's got ter be hid an' 
•uk keer on till he's well — ef he ever gits well at all." 
[ "Why, you don't think he's hurt — not seriously, do you?" 
I: "Hurt, man!" said Nimbus, impatiently. "Dar ain't much 
[lliflference atwixt him an' a dead man, now." 
'( "Good God! Nimbus, you don't mean that. He seems to sleep 
veil," said Hesden, bending over the prostrate form. 
: "Sleep! Marse Hesden, I'se kerried him tree miles sence he's 
jeen a-sleepin' like dat; an' de blood's been a runnin' down on 
way hans an' a-breakin' my holt ebbery now an' den, tu!" 

"Why, Nimbus, what is this you tell me? Was any one else 
^fiurt?" 

' "Wal, dar's a couple o' white men a-layin' mighty quiet dar, 
fo' 'Liab's house." 

p Hesden shuddered. The time he had dreaded had come! The 
tj nouldering passion of the South had burst forth at last! For 



268 Bricks Without Straw 

years — ever since the war — ^prejudice and passion, the sense of 
insult and oppression had been growing thicker and blacker all 
over the South. Thunders had rolled over the land. Lightnings 
had fringed its edges. The country had heard, but had not 
heeded. The nation had looked on with smiling face, and de- 
clared the sunshine undimmed. It had taken no note of exaspera- 
tion and prejudice. It had unconsciously trampled under foot the 
passionate pride of a conquered people. It had scorned and 
despised a sentiment more deeply inwrought than that of caste in 
the Hindoo breast. 

The South believed, honestly believed, in its innate superiority 
over all other races and peoples. It did not doubt, has never 
doubted, that, man for man, it was braver, stronger, better than 
the North. Its men were "gentlemen" — grander, nobler beings 
than the North ever knew. Their women were "ladies" — gentle, 
refined, ethereal beings, passion and devotion wrapped in forms 
of ethereal mould, and surrounded by an impalpable effulgence 
which distinguished them from all others of the sex throughout 
the world. Whatever was of the South was superlative. To be 
Southern-born was to be prima facie better than other men. So 
the self-love of every man was enlisted in this sentiment. To 
praise the South was to praise himself; to boast of its valor was to 
advertise his own intrepidity; to extol its women was to enhance , ; 
the glory of his own achievements in the lists of love; to vaunt its 4 
chivalry was to avouch his own honor; to laud its greatness was 
to extol himself. He measured himself with his Northern com- 
peer, and decided without hesitation in his own favor. 

The South, he felt, was unquestionably greater than the North 
in all those things which were most excellent, and was only 
overtopped by it in those things which were the mere result of 
numbers. Outnumbered on the field of battle, the South had been 
degraded and insulted by a sordid and low-minded conqueror, in 
the very hour of victory. Outnumbered at the ballot-box, it had 
still dictated the policy of the Nation. The Southern white man 



' What the Mist Hid 269 

aaturally compared himself with his Northern brother. For com- 

I oarison between himself and the African — the recent slave, the 

■'.icarcely human anthropoid — he found no ground. Only contrast 

,;vas possible there. To have these made co-equal rulers with him, 

i'lieated beside him on the throne of popular sovereignty, merely, 

Ls he honestly thought, for the gratification of an unmanly spite 

igainst a fallen foe, aroused every feeling of exasperation and 

evenge which a people always restive of restraint could feel. 

It was not from hatred to the negro, but to destroy his political 

)0wer and restore again their own insulted and debased suprem- 

cy that such things were done as have been related. It was to 

how the conqueror that the bonds in which the sleeping Samson 

cad been bound were green withes which he scornfully snapped 

'^isunder in his first waking moment. Pride the most overweening, 

(nd a prejudice of caste the most intense and ineradicable, stimu- 

'ated by the chagrin of defeat and inflamed by the sense of 

t ijustice and oppression — both these lay at the bottom of the acts 

Jjy which the rule of the majorities established by reconstruc- 

lionary legislation were overthrown. It was these things that so 

ylinded the eyes of a whole people that they called this bloody 

; lasquerading, this midnight warfare upon the weak, this era of 

:;nutterable horror, "redeeming the South!" 

U There was no good man, no honest man, no Christian man of 

jjie South who for an instant claimed that it was right to kill, 

laim, beat, wound and ill-treat the black man, either in his old 

"': his new estate. He did not regard these acts as done to another 

ian, a compeer, but only as acts of cruelty to an inferior so 

ifinitely removed from himself as to forbid any comparison of 

ights or feelings. It was not right to do evil to a "nigger;" but it 

!;as infinitely less wrong than to do it unto one of their own 

ilor. These men did not consider such acts as right in them- 

Ives, but only as right in view of their comparative importance 

fid necessity, and the unspeakable inferiority of their victims. 

For generations the South had regarded the uprising of the 



270 Bricks Without Straw 

black, the assertion of his manhood and autonomy, as the ultima 
thule of possible evil. San Domingo and hell were twin horrors 
in their minds, with the odds, however, in favor of San Domingo. 
To prevent negro domination anything was justifiable. It was a 
choice of evils, where on one side was placed an evil which they 
had been taught to believe, and did believe, infinitely outweighed 
and overmatched all other evils in enormity. Anything, said these 
men in their hearts; anything, they said to each other; anything, 
they cried aloud to the world, was better, is better, must be better, 
than negro rule, than African domination. 

Now, by negro rule they meant the exercise of authority by a 
majority of citizens of African descent, or a majority of which 
they constituted any considerable factor. The white man who 
acted with the negro in any relation of political co-ordination 
was deemed even worse than the African himself. If he became a 
leader, he was anathematized for self-seeking. If he only co-oper- 
ated with his ballot, he was denounced as a coward. In any event 
he was certain to be deemed a betrayer of his race, a renegade 
and an outcast. 

Hesden Le Moyne was a Southern white man. All that has just 
been written was essential truth to him. It was a part of his 
nature. He was as proud as the proudest of his fellows. The sting 
of defeat still rankled in his heart. The sense of infinite distance 
between his race and that unfortunate race whom he pitied so 
sincerely, to whose future he looked forward with so much 
apprehension, was as distinct and palpable to him as to any one 
of his compeers. The thousandth part of a drop of the blood of 
the despised race degraded, in his mind, the unfortunate 
possessor. 

He had inherited a dread of the ultimate results of slavery. He 
wished — it had been accounted sensible in his family to wish — 
that slavery had never existed. Having existed, they never I 
thought of favoring its extinction. They thought it corrupting 
and demoralizing to the white race. They felt that it was separat- : 



What the Mist Hid 271 

ing them, year by year, farther and farther from that independent 
self-relying manhood, which had built up American institutions 
and American prosperity. They feared the fruit of this demorali- 
zation. For the sake of the white man, they wished that the black 
had never been enslaved. As to the blacks — they did not question 
the righteousness of their enslavement. They did not care 
whether it were right or wrong. They simply did not consider 
them at all. When the war left them free, they simply said, "Poor 
fellows!" as they would of a dog without a master. When the 
blacks were entrusted with the ballot, they said again, "Poor 
fellows!" regarding them as the blameless instrument by which a 
bigoted and revengeful North sought to degrade and humiliate a 
foe overwhelmed only by the accident of numbers; the colored 
race being to these Northern people like the cat with whose paw 
the monkey dragged his chestnuts from the fire. Hesden had only 
wondered what the effect of these things would be upon "the 
South;" meaning by "the South" that regnant class to which his 
family belonged — a part of which, by a queer synecdoche, stood 
for the whole, 
i His love for his old battle-steed, and his curious interest in its 
\ new possessor, had led him to consider the experiment at Red 
I Wing with some care. His pride and interest in Eliab as a former 
jl slave of his family had still further fixed his attention and 
{ awakened his thought. And, finally, his acquaintance with MoUie 
'\ Ainslie had led him unconsciously to sympathize with the object 
'} of her constant care and devotion. 

5 So, while he stood there beside the stricken man, whose breath 
5; came stertorous and slow, he was in that condition of mind of all 
'I others most perilous to the Southern man — he had begun to 
['1 doubt: to doubt the infallibility of his hereditary notions; to 
.1 doubt the super-excellence of Southern manhood, and the infinite 
- superiority of Southern womanhood; to doubt the incapacity of 
j, the negro for self-maintenance and civilization; to doubt, in 
yi short, all those dogmas which constitute the differential charac- 



272 Bricks Without Straw 

teristics of "the Southern man." He had gone so far — a terrible 
distance to one of his origin — as to admit the possibihty of error. 
He had begun to question — God forgive him, if it seemed Hke i 
sacrilege — he had begun to question whether the South might j 
not have been wrong — ^might not still be wrong — ^wrong in the | 
principle and practice of slavery, wrong in the theory and fact of : 
secession and rebellion, wrong in the hypothesis of hate on the f 
part of the conquerors, wrong in the assumption of exceptional 
and unapproachable excellence. 

The future was as misty as the gray morning. 



40 • Daw^ning 



Hesden Le Moyne stood with Nimbus under the great low- 
branching oak, in the chill morning, and listened to the labored 
breathing of the man for the sake of whose humanity his fatheri 
had braved public opinion in the old slave-era, which already! 
seemed cenmries away in the dim past. The training of his life^ 
the conditions of his growth, bore fruit in that moment. Hel 
pitied the outraged victim, he was shocked at the barbarity of hi^ 
fellows; but there was no sense of injustice, no feeling of sacrec 
rights trampled on and ignored in the person of the sufferer. He 
remembered when he had played with Eliab beside his mother's 
hearth; when he had varied the monotony of study by teaching! 
the crippled slave-boy the tasks he himself was required to per4 
form. The tenderness of old associations sprang up in his mine 
and he felt himself affronted in the person of the protege of hiil 



Dawning 273 

family. He disliked cruelty; he hated cowardice; and he felt that 
Eliab Hill had been the victim of a cruel and cowardly assault. 
He remembered how faithfully this man's mother had nursed his 

} own. Above all, the sentiment of comradeship awoke. This man 
who had been his playfellow had been brutally treated because 

! of his weakness. He would not see him bullied. He would stand 

r by him to the death. 

i "The cowards!" he hissed through his teeth. "Bring him in, 
Nimbus, quick! They needn't expect me to countenance such 
brutality as this!" 

"Marse Hesden," said the black Samson who had stood, si- 
lently watching the white playmate of his boyhood, while the 
latter recovered himself from the sort of stupor into which the 
revelation he had heard had thrown him, "God bress yer fer dem 
I words! I 'llowed yer'd stan' by 'Liab. Dat's why I fotched him 
h'yer." 

I "Of course I would, and by you too, Nimbus." 

|j ■ "No, Marse Hesden, dat wouldn't do no sort o' good. Nimbus 

''1 . . . 

hez jes got ter cut an' run fer it. I 'specs them ar dat's a lyin' dar 
in front ob 'Liab's do' ain't like ter do no mo' troublin'; an' yer 
fknows, Marse Hesden, 'twouldn't nebber be safe fer a cuUu'd 
j.man dat's done dat ar ter try an' lib h'yerabouts no mo'!" 
N "But you did it in defense of life. You had a right to do it, 
pjiNimbus." 

'1 "Dar ain't no doubt o' dat, Marse Hesden, but I'se larned dat 
-de right ter du a ting an' de doin' on't is two mighty diff'rent 
flings, when it's a cullu'd man ez does it. I hed a right ter buy a 



>olantation an' raise terbacker; an' 'Liab hed a right ter teach an' 
-joreach; an' we both hed a right ter vote for ennybody we had a 
Mnind ter choose. An' so we did; an' dat's all we done, tu. An' 
low h'yer's what's come on't, Marse Hesden." 
. Nimbus pointed to the bruised creature before them as he 
pfpoke, and his tones sounded like an arraignment. 

"I am afraid you are right. Nimbus," said the white man, with 



li 



274 Bricks Without Straw 

a sense of self-abasement he had never thought to feel before one 
of the inferior race. "But bring him in, we must not waste time 
here." 

"Dat's a fac'," said Nimbus, with a glance at the East. " 'Tain' 
more'n 'bout a hour till sun-up, an' I mustn't be seen hereabouts 
atter dat. Dey'll be a lookin' atter me, an' 'twon't be safe fer 
Nimbus ter be no whar 'cept in de mos' lonesome places. But 
whar's ye gwine ter put 'Liab, Marse Hesden?" 

"In the house — anjrwhere, only be quick about it. Don't let 
him die here!" said Hesden, bending over the prostrate man anc 
passing a hand over his forehead with a shudder. 

"But whar'bouts in de house yer gwine ter put him, Marsej 
Hesden?" 

"Anywhere, man — in my room, if nowhere else. Come, take| 
hold here!" was Hesden's impatient rejoinder as he put his one 
hand under Eliab's head and strove to raise him up. 

"Dat won't do, Marse Hesden," said Nimbus, solemnly. " 'Lial 
had a heap better go back ter de woods an' chance it wic 
Nimbus, dan be in your room," 

"Why so?" 

"Why? Kase yer knows dat de men what done dis ting ain' 
a- gwine ter let him lib ef dey once knows whar he's ter be founi 
He's de one dey wuz atter, jest ez much ez Nimbus, an' p'raps 
leetle more, dough yer knows ther ain't a mite o' harm in him 
an' nebber was. But dat don't matter. Dey tinks dat he keeps d| 
cullu'd folks togedder, an' makes 'em stan' up for dere rights, at 
dat's why dey went fer him. 'Sides dat, ef he didn't hurt none 0| 
'em dey know he seed an' heerd 'em, an' so'll be afeared ter let Vb 
on him on dat account." 

"I'd like to see the men that would take him out of m 
house!" said Le Moyne, indignantly. 

"Dar 'd jes be two men killed instead ob one, ef yer should] 
said the other, dryly. 

"Perhaps you're right," said Le Moyne, thoughtfully. "Tl 



Dawning 275 

men who did this will do anything. But where shall we put him? 

jle can't lie here." 
"Marse Hesden, does yer mind de loft ober de ole dinin'-room, 

ivhar we all used ter play ob a Sunday?" 

I "Of course, I've got my tobacco bulked down there now," was 

lihe answer. 

i "Dat's de place, Marse Hesden! " 
"But there's no way to get in there except by a ladder," said 

illesden. 

a "So much de better. You gits de ladder, an' I brings 'Liab." 

; In a few minutes Eliab was lying on some blankets, hastily 

oirown over a bulk of leaf tobacco, in the loft over the old 
iining-room at Mulberry Hill, and Hesden Le Moyne was busy 

-athing his face, examining his wounds, and endeavoring to 

restore him to consciousness. 

'■ Nimbus waited only to hear his report that the wounds, 

hough numerous and severe, were not such as would be likely to 

?rove fatal. There were several cuts and bruises about the head; a 
lot had struck the arm, which had caused the loss of blood; and 
le weakened tendons of the cramped and unused legs had been 

iirn asunder. These were all the injuries Le Moyne could find. 

liimbus dropped upon his knees, and threw his arms about the 
pbck of his friend at this report, and burst into tears, 
il "God bress yer, 'Liab! God bress yer!" he sobbed. "Nimbus 
("n't do no mo' fer ye, an' don't 'How he'll nebber see ye no mo' 
j-no mo' in dis world! Good-by, 'Liab, good-by! Yer don't know 
t:(imbus's gwine away, does yer? God bress yer, p'raps it's better 
p — ^better so!" 

i \ He kissed again and again the pale forehead, from which the 
i;rk hair had been brushed back by repeated bathings. Then 
'iing and turning away his head, he extended his hand to Le 
loyne and said: 

"Good-bye, Marse Hesden! God bress yer! Take good keer o' 
j'iiab, Mahs'r, an' — an' — ef he gits round agin, don't let him try 



276 Bricks Without Straw 

ter stay h'yrabouts — don't, please! 'Tain't no use! See ef yer can't! 
git him ter go ter de Norf, er somewhar. Oh, my God!" he! 
exclaimed, suddenly, as the memory of his care of the stricken 
friend came suddenly upon him, "my God! what'll he ebber do 
widout Nimbus ter keer fer him?" 

His voice was drowned in sobs and his grip on the hand of the! 
white man was like the clasp of a vice. 

"Don't go, Nimbus, don't!" pleaded Hesden. 

"I must, Marse Hesden," said he, repressing his sobs. "I'se got 
ter see what's come o' 'Gena an' de rest, an' it's best fer both. 
Good-by! God bress yer! Ef he comes tu, ax him sometimes tei 
pray for Nimbus. But 'tain't no use — no use — fer he'll do it 
without axin'. Good-by!" ' 

He opened the wooden shutter, ran down the ladder, ancJ 
disappeared, as the misty morning gave way to the full ancJ 
perfect day. 



41 • Q. E. D. 



As Mollie Ainslie grew stronger day by day, her kind host hai 
done all in his power to aid her convalescence by offerin, 
pleasing attentions and cheerful surroundings. As soon as sh; 
was able to ride, she had been lifted carefully into the saddle, an- 
under his watchful supervision had made, each day, longer an 
longer rides, until, for some days preceding the events of the hi 
few chapters, her strength had so fully returned that they ha 
ridden several miles. The flush of health had returned to he 



Q. E. D. 277 

zheeks, and the sleep that followed her exercise was restful and 
refreshing. 

Already she talked of returning to Red Wing, and, but for the 
,(houghtfulness of Eliab Hill in dismissing the school for a month 
luring her illness, would have been present at the terrible scenes 
jinacted there. She only lingered because she was not quite 
ecovered, and because there was a charm about the old planta- 
ion, which she had never found elsewhere. A new light had 
ome into her life. She loved Hesden Le Moyne, and Hesden Le 



I'^oyne loved the Yankee school-marm. No word of love had 

;een spoken. No caress had been offered. A pall hung over the 

ousehold, in the gloom of which the lips might not utter words 

f endearment. But the eyes spoke; and they greeted each other 

jith kisses of liquid light when their glances met. Flushed 

.'heeks and tones spoke more than words. She waited for his 

oming anxiously. He was restive and uneasy when away. The 

eace which each one brought to the other's heart was the sure 

itness of well-grounded love. She had never asked herself 

Inhere was the beginning or what would be the end. She had 

;ver said to herself, "I love him;" but his presence brought 

-ace, and in her innocence she rested there as in an undisturbed 

aven. 

,' As for him — he saw and trembled. He could not shut his eyes 
■ I' her love or his own. He did not wish to do so. And yet, brave 
lan as he was, he trembled at the thought, Hesden Le Moyne 
bas proud. He knew that Mollie Ainslie was as proud as himself. 
,j]e had the prejudices of his people and class, and he knew also 
^ at she had the convictions of that part of the country where she 
^d been reared. He knew that she would never share his 
i,iejudices; he had no idea that he would ever share her convic- 
;ms. He wished that she had never taught a "nigger school" — 
j|i't for his own sake, he said to himself, with a flush of shame, 
: t for hers. How could she face sneers? How could he endure 



278 Bricks Without Straw 

insults upon his love? How could he ask her to come whew 
sneers and insults awaited her? | 

Love had set himself a hard task. He had set before him thi| 
problem: "New England Puritanism and Southern Prejudice! 
how shall they be reconciled?" For the solution of this questiofl; 
there were given on one side a maiden who would have plucket 
out her heart and trampled it under her feet, rather than surren: 
der one tenet in her creed of righteousness; and on the other sidi 
a man who had fought for a cause he did not approve rather thaii 
be taunted with having espoused one of the fundamental princi 
pies of her belief. To laugh at locksmiths was an easy thin 
compared with the reading of this riddle! 

On the morning when Eliab was brought to Mulberry Hil 
Mrs. Le Moyne and Mollie breakfasted together alone in th 
room of the former. Both were troubled at the absence of tt 
master of the house. 

"I cannot see why he does not come," said Mrs. Le Moynt 
"He is the soul of punctuality, and is never absent from a me; 
when about home. He sent in word by Laura early this mornir 
that he would not be at breakfast, and that we should not wa 
for him, but gave no sort of reason. I don't understand it." 

"I hope he is not sick. You don't think he has the fever, d 
you?" said Mollie, with evident anxiety. 

The elder woman glanced keenly at her as she replied in| 
careless tone: 

"Oh, no indeed. You have no occasion for anxiety. I told LaiJ 
to take him a cup of coffee and a roll in his room, but she says 
is not there. I suppose something about the plantation requiif 
his attention. It is very kind of you, I am sure; but I have 1 
doubt he is quite well." 

There was something in the tone as well as the words whj 
cut the young girl to the heart. She could not tell what it wi 
She did not dream that it was aimed at herself. She only kn* 
that it sounded harsh and cold, and unkind. Her heart was v(/ 



Q. E. D. 279 

jsnder. Sickness and love had thrown her off her guard against 
neers and hardness. It did not once occur to her that the 
:;:een-sighted invalid, whose life was bound up in her son's life, 
'|.ad looked into the heart which had never yet syllabled the love 
jii/hich filled it, and hated what she saw. She did not deem it 
I ossible that there should be aught but kindly feeling for her in 
Rie household she had all but died to serve. Moreover, she had 
izpved the delicate invalid ever since she had received a letter 
ii:om her hand. She had always been accustomed to that uncon- 
i:ious equality of common right and mutual courtesy that pre- 
jiails so widely at the North, and had never thought of constru- 
I ig the letter as one of patronizing approval. She had counted it 
n friendly commendation, not only of herself, but of her work, 
'his woman she had long pictured to herself as one that rose 
30ve the prejudice by which she was surrounded. She who, in 
le old times, had bravely taught Eliab Hill to read in defiance of 
j-ie law, would surely approve of a work like hers. 
[^ So thought the silly girl, not knowing that the gentle invalid 
pad taught Eliab Hill the little that he knew before emancipa- 
tion more to show her defiance of meddling objectors, than for 
le good of the boy. In fact, she had had no idea of benefiting 
[•im, other than by furnishing him a means of amusement in the 
iiforced solitude of his affliction. Mollie did not consider that 
li.ester Le Moyne was a Southern woman, and as such, while she 
ight admire courage and accomplishments in a woman of 
Northern birth, always did so with a mental reservation in favor 
fii: her own class. "When, however, one came from the North to 
Hach the negroes, in order that they might overpower and rule 
f e whites, which she devoutly believed to be the sole purpose of 
e colored educational movement, no matter under what spe- 
)us guise of charity it might be done, she could not go even so 
r as that. 

; Yet, if such a one came to her, overwhelmed by stress of 
rather, she would grve her shelter; if she were ill she would 



28o Bricks Without Straw 

minister unto her; for these were Christian duties. If she were 
fair and bright, and brave, she would delight to entertain her; for 
that was a part of the hospitality of which the South boasted. 
There was something enjoyable, too, in parading the riches of a' 
well-stocked wardrobe and the lavish splendors of an old South- 
ern home to one who, she believed, had never seen such magnif- 
icence before; for the belief that poverty and poor fare are the 
common lot of the country folks at the North is one of the- 
fallacies commonly held by all classes at the South. As slavery, 
which was the universal criterion of wealth and culture at the 
South, did not prevail at all at the North, they unconsciously anc 
naturally came to associate self-help with degradation, and lik 
ened the Northern farmer to the poor white "cropper." Whert 
social rank was measured by the length of the serving train, i 
was not strange that the Northern self-helper should be despisec 
and his complacent assumption of equal gentility scorned. 

So Mrs. Le Moyne had admired the courage of Mollie Ainsli 
before she saw her; she had been charmed with her beauty aa 
artless grace on the first night of her stay at Mulberry Hill, ani 
had felt obliged to her for her care of the little Hildreth; but sb 
had not once thought of considering her the peer of the Rict 
ardses and the Le Moynes, or as standing upon the same sodi 
plane as herself. She was, no doubt, good and honest and brav« 
very well educated and accomplished, but by no means a lady 
her sense of the word. Mrs. Le Moyne's feeling toward t 
Northern school-teacher was very like that which the Englii 
gentry express when they use the word "person." There is n 
discredit in the term. The individual referred to may be tt 
incarnation of every grace and virtue, only he is of a low^ 
degree in the social scale. He is of another grade. 

Entertaining such feelings toward Mollie, it was no wond 
that Mrs. Le Moyne was not pleased to see the anxious interd 
that young lady freely exhibited in the health of her son. 

On the other hand, the young New England girl never sd 



Q. E. D. 281 

pected the existence of such sentiments. Conscious of intellectual 
and moral equality with her hostess, she did not imagine that 
ithere could be anything of patronage, or anything less than 
(friendly sympathy and approval, in the welcome she had received 
lit Mulberry Hill. This house had seemed to her like a new home. 
[The exile which she had undergone at Red Wing had unfitted 
■ler for the close analysis of such pleasing associations. Therefore, 
j-he undertone in Mrs. Le Moyne's remarks came upon her like a 
ij)low from an unseen hand. She felt hurt and humbled, but she 
jiould not exactly tell why. Her heart grew suddenly heavy. Her 
li'yes filled with tears. She dallied a little while with coffee and 
[iOast, declined the dainties pressed upon her with scrupulous 
jtourtesy, and presently, excusing her lack of appetite, fled away 
„o her room and wept. 

■ "I must be nervous this morning," she said to herself smil- 
agly, as she dried her eyes and prepared for her customary 
(.Qorning ride. On going down stairs she found a servant in 
5/aiting with her horse ready saddled, who said: "Mornin', Miss 
gioUie. Marse Hesden said ez how I was ter tell yer dat he was 
at busy dis mornin' dat he couldn't go ter ride wid yer to-day, 
; ohow, I wuz ter gib yer his compliments, all de same, an' say he 
,iOpes yer'll hev a pleasant ride, an' he wants ter see yer when yer 
gsits back. He's powerful sorry he can't go." 
ji "Tell Mr, Le Moyne it is not a matter of any consequence at 
'1, Charley," she answered pleasantly. 

\i "Yer couldn't never make Marse Hesden b'lieve dat ar, no way 
iji de world," said Charles, with deft flattery, as he lifted her into 
j le saddle. Then, glancing quickly around, he said in a low, 
jtfirnest voice: "Hez ye heerd from Red Wing lately. Miss 
lollie?" 

[ "Not for a day or two. Why?" she asked, glancing quickly 
= )wn at him, 
"Oh, nuffin', only I wuz afeared dar'd been somethin' bad a 
vine on dar, right lately," 



282 Bricks Without Straw 

"What do you mean, Charles?" she asked, bending down and 
speaking anxiously. 

"Don't say nuffin' 'bout it. Miss Mollie — dey don't know nuf- 
fin' 'bout it in h'yer," nodding toward the house, "but de Ku 
Kluckers was dar las' night." I 

"You don't mean it, Charles?" i 

"Dat's what I hear," he answered doggedly. 

"Anybody hurt?" she asked anxiously. i 

"I don't know dat, Miss Mollie. Dat's all I hear — jes dat dey'd I 
been dar." 



4^ • Through a Cloud-rift 



It was with a heavy heart that Mollie Ainslie passed out of the 
gate and rode along the lane toward the highway. The autumn 
sun shone bright, and the trees were just beginning to put on th( 
gay trappings in which they are wont to welcome wintry death 
Yet, somehow, everything seemed suddenly to have grown darl 
and dull. Her poor weak brain was overwhelmed and dazed bi 
the incongruity of the life she was leaving with that to which shi 
was going back — for she had no hesitation in deciding as to th 
course she ought to pursue. 

She did not need to question as to what had been done c 
suffered. If there was any trouble, actual or impending, affectin 
those she had served, her place was with them. They would lod 
to her for guidance and counsel. She would not fail them. She dJ 
not once think of danger, nor did she dream that by doing as sBlj 



Through a Cloud-rift 283 

toposed she was severing herself entirely from the pleasant life 

[ the fine old country seat which had been so eventful. 

liShe did, indeed, think of Hesden. She always thought of him 

I late. Everything, whether of joy or of sorrow, seemed some- 

w connected with him. She thought of him — not as going 

ray from him, or as putting him out of her life, but as deserv- 

y his approval by her act. "He will miss me when he finds that 

lo not return. Perhaps he will be alarmed," she said to herself, 

I she cantered easily toward the ford. "But then, if he hears 

lat has happened, he will know where I have gone and will 

1 prove my going. Perhaps he will be afraid for me, and then he 

ill — " Her heart seemed to stop beating! All its bright current 

t w into her face. The boundless beatitude of love burst on her 

i : at once. She had obeyed its dictates and tasted its bliss for days 

i I weeks, quite unconscious of the rapture which filled her soul. 

1 )W, it came like a great wave of light that overspread the earth 

i 1 covered with a halo all that was in it. 

How bright upon the instant was everything! The sunshine 
> s a beating, pulsing ether animated with love! The trees, the 
1 ds, the yellow-breasted lark, pouring forth his autumn lay, the 
slillows, glancing in the golden sunshine and weaving in and 
(p on billowy wing the endless dance with which they hie them 
Silthward ere the winter comes — everything she saw or heard 
Vs; eloquent with look and tones of love! The grand old horse 
tit carried her so easily, how strange and how delightful was 
tL double ownership, which yet was only one! Hers? Hesden's? 
loden's because hers, for — ah, glowing cheek! ah, bounding 
t'lrt! how sweet the dear confession, breathed — nay told unspo- 
^ly — to autumn sky and air, to field and wood and bird and 
bfftst, to nature's boundless heart — she was but Hesden's! The 
abr and the idol of his love! Oh, how its incense thrilled her 
S(j'^ and intoxicated every sense! There was no doubt, no fear, 
np breath of shame! He would come and ask, and she — would 
^:? No! no! no! She could not give, but she would tell, with 



284 Bricks Without Straw 

word and look and swift embrace, how she had given — ah! given 
all — and knew it not! Oh, fairer than the opened heaven is earth 
illumined with love! 

As she dreamed, her horse's swift feet consumed the way. She 
reached the river — a silver billow between emerald banks, to- 
day! Almost unheedingly she crossed the ford, just smiling, rapi 
in her vision, as memory brought back the darkness of hel^ 
former crossing! Then she swept on, through the dark, over-arch j 
ing pines, their odor mingling with the incense of love whicl 
filled her heart. She had forgotten Red Wing and all thai 
pertained to it. The new song her lips had been taught to sinfl 
had made thin and weak every melody of the past. Shall earn 
cumber the heart of the bride? She knew vaguely that she wa 
going to Red Wing. She recognized the road, but it seemci 
glorified since she travelled it before. Once, she thought sh 
heard her name called. The tone was full of beseeching. Sh 
smiled, for she thought that love had cheated her, and syllable 
the cry of that heart which would not be still until she cam 
again. She did not see the dark, pleading face which gazed aft^ 
her as her horse bore her swiftly beyond his ken. 

On and on, easily, softly! She knows she is approaching h( 
journey's end, but the glamour of love enthralls her senses ye' 
The last valley is passed. She ascends the last hill. Before her 
Red Wing, bright and peaceful as Paradise before the spoilt 
came. She has forgotten the story which the hostler told. Tl 
sight of the little village but heightens her rapture. She almc 
greets it with a shout, as she gives her horse the rein and dash 
down the little street. How her face glows! The wind toys wi 
stray tresses of her hair! How dull and amazed the people see 
whom she greets so gayly! Still on! Around the angle of t 
wood she turns — and comes upon the smouldering church! 

Ah, how the visions melt! What a cry of agony goes up frcj 
her white lips! How pale her cheeks grow as she drops the rel 
from her nerveless fingers! The observant horse needs no wof 



Through a Cloud-rift 285 

f check his swift career. The scene of desolation stops him in an 
tstant. He stretches out his head and looks with staring eyes 
3on the ruin. He snuffs with distended nostrils the smoke that 
ties from the burning. 

iThe villagers gather around. She answers every inquiry with 
w moans. Gently they lead her horse under the shadow of the 
sat oak before the old Ordinary. Very tenderly she is lifted 
*wn and borne to the large-armed rocker on the porch, which 
•jj weeping, trembling old "mammy" has loaded with pillows to 
h reive her. 

■ AH day long she heard the timid tread of dusky feet and 
, .tened to the tale of woe and fear. Old and young, those whom 
i^i had counselled, and those whom she had taught, alike sought 
l^r presence and advice. Lugena came, and showed her scarred 
l.im; brought her beaten children, and told her tale of sorrow. 
Ve past was black enough, but the shadow of a greater fear 
l^ng over the little hamlet. They feared for themselves and also 
i her. They begged her to go back to Mr. Le Moyne's. She 
£|iled and shook her head with a soft light in her eyes. She 
\ uld not go back until the king came and entreated her. But 
s knew that would be very soon. So she roused herself to 
c, nfort and advise, and when the sun went down, she was once 
t re the little Mollie Ainslie of the Bankshire hills, only fairer 
8 I ruddier and sweeter than ever before, as she sat upon the 
f rich and watched with dewy, love-lit eyes the road which led to 
IjClberry Hill. 

^rhe shadows came. The night fell; the stars came out; the 
E on arose — he came not. Stealthy footsteps came and went. 
I^irhful hearts whispered words of warning with trembling lips. 
S did not fear. Her heart was sick. She had not once dreamed 
tl : Hesden would fail to seek her out, or that he would allow 
h to pass one hour of darkness in this scene of horror. She 
a est began to wish the night might be a counterpart of that 
V ch had gone before. She took out her brother's heavy revol- 



286 Bricks Without Straw 

ver, loaded every chamber, laid it on the table beside her chair 
and sat, sleepless but dry-eyed, until the morning. 

The days went by. Hesden did not come, and sent no word. H{ 
was but five miles away; he knew how she loved him; yet the 
grave was not more voiceless! She hoped — a little — even afte; 
that first night. She pictured possibilities which she hoped migh 
be true. Then the tones of the mother's voice came back tc 
her — the unexplained absence — the unfulfilled engagement— 
and doubt was changed to certainty! She did not weep or moai 
or pine. The Yankee girl had no base metal in her make. Sh 
folded up her vision of love and laid it away, embalmed in th 
fragrance of her own purity, in the inmost recess of her heart c 
hearts. The rack could not have wrung from her a whisper of he 
one day in Paradise. She was simply Mollie Ainslie, the teache 
of the colored school at Red Wing, once more; quiet, cool, an 
practical, giving herself day by day, with increased devotion, i 
the people whom she had served so faithfully before her bri( 
translation. 



43 • A Glad Good-by 



A few days after her departure from Mulberry Hill, Mol! 
Ainslie wrote to Mrs. Le Moyne: 

My Dear Madam: You have no doubt heard of the terril 
events which have occurred at Red Wing. I had an intimation i 
trouble just as I set out on my ride, but had no idea of the hod 
which awaited me upon my arrival here, made all the more fear) 
by contrast with your pleasant home. 






A Glad Good-by 287 

j: I cannot at such a time leave the people with whom I have labored 

D long, especially as their only other trusted adviser, the preacher, 
vliab Hill, is missing. With the utmost exertion we have been able 

) learn nothing of him or of Nimbus since the night of the fire. 
Vhere is no doubt that they are dead. Of course, there is great 
'xcitement, and I have had a very anxious time. I am glad to say, 
50wever, that my health continues to improve. I left some articles 

rattered about in the room I occupied, which I would be pleased if 
ou would have a servant collect and give to the bearer. 
With the best wishes for the happiness of yourself and Mr. 

[esden, and with pleasant memories of your delightful home, I 
p;main, 
f Yours very truly, 

MOLLIE AiNSLIE. 



'1 To this she received the following reply: 

t 

, Miss Mollie Ainslie: I very much regret the unfortunate events 

hich occasioned your hasty departure from Mulberry Hill. It is 
eatly to be hoped that all occasion for such violence will soon pass 
••vay. It is a great calamity that the colored people cannot be made 
see that their old masters and mistresses are their best friends, and 
duced to follow their advice and leadership, instead of going after 
rangers and ignorant persons of their own color, or low-down 
hite men, who only wish to use them for their own advantage. I 
Q very sorry for Eliab and the others, but I must say I think they 
ive brought it all on themselves. I am told they have been mighty 
1 ipudent and obstreperous, until really the people in the neighbor- 
ed did not feel safe, expecting every day that their houses or barns 
ould be burned down, or their wives or daughters insulted, or 
irhaps worse, by the lazy, saucy crowd they had gathered about 
em. 

I Eliab was a good boy, but I never did like that fellow Nimbus. He 

is that stubborn and headstrong, even in his young days, that I can 

;.lieve anything of him. Then he was in the Yankee army during 

s war, you know, and I have no doubt that he is a desperate 

paracter. I learn he has been indicted once or twice, and the general 

;:lief is that he set the church on fire, and, with a crowd of his 

ti derstrappers, fixed up to represent Ku Klux, attacked his own 

buse, abused his wife and took Eliab ofif and killed him, in order to 

ike the North believe that the people of Horsford are only a set of 



288 Bricks Without Straw 

savages, and so get the Government to send soldiers here to carry the ; 
election, in order that a filthy negro and a low-down, dirty, no-ac-j 
count poor-white man may w^jrepresent this grand old county in| 
the Legislature again. 

I declare, Miss Ainslie, I don't see how you endure such things. 
You seemed while here very much of a lady, for one in your spheret 
of life, and I cannot understand how you can reconcile it with your 
conscience to encourage and live with such a terrible gang. , 

My son has been very busy since you left. He did not find time to 
inquire for you yesterday, and seemed annoyed that you had not 
apprised him of your intention to leave. I suppose he is afraid that 
his old horse might be injured if there should be more trouble at 
Red Wing. 

Yours truly, 

Hester Richards Le Moyne. 

P.S. — I understand that they are going to hunt the fellow Nimbus| 
with dogs to-morrow. I hope they will catch him and hang him tc 
the nearest tree. I have no doubt he killed poor Eliab, and did all th( 
rest of the bad things laid to his charge. He is a desperate negro, anc 
I don't see how you can stand up for him. I hope you will let th(' 
people of the North know the truth of this aflFair, and make then 
understand that Southern gentlemen are not such savages and brute 
as they are represented. 

The letter was full of arrows designed to pierce her breast; bu 
Mollie Ainslie did not feel one of them. After what she ha( 
sufl[ered, no ungenerous flings from such a source could cause he 
any pain. On the contrary, it was an object of interest to her, i: 
that it disclosed how deep down in the heart of the highest an 
best, as well as the lowest and meanest, was that prejudice whic 
had originally instigated such acts as had been perpetrated at Re 
Wing. The credulous animosity displayed by this woman t 
whom she had looked for sympathy and encouragement in whj 
she deemed a holy work, revealed to her for the first time ho^; 
deep and impassable was the channel which time had cut bii 
tween the people of the North and those of the South. 

She did not lose her respect or regard for Mrs. Le Moyne. SI 
did not even see that any word which had been written wl 



Putting This and That Together 289 

intended to stab her, as a woman. She only saw that the preju- 
4ice-bhnded eyes had led a good, kind heart to endorse and 
xcuse cruelty and outrage. The letter saddened but did not 
mrage her. She saw and pitied the pride of the sick lady whom 
',he had learned to love in fancy too well to regard with anger on 
(Recount of what was but the natural result of her life and 
i raining. 



|4 • Putting This and That Together 

P After Mollie had read the letter of Mrs. Le Moyne, it struck 
j;;r as a curious thing that she should write to her of the hunt 
tihich was to be made after Nimbus, and the great excitement 
hich there was in regard to him. Knowing that Mrs. Le Moyne 
id Hesden were both kindly disposed toward Eliab, and the 
||:tter, as she believed, toward Nimbus also, it occurred to her 
jiat this might be intended as a warning, given on the hypothesis 
bjat those parties were in hiding and not dead. 
51 At the same time, also, it flashed upon her mind that Lugena 
:d not seemed so utterly cast down as might naturally be 
}.pected of a widow so suddenly and sadly bereaved. She knew 
fOiething of the secretive powers of the colored race. She knew 
?at in the old slave times one of the men now living in the little 
ii.lage had remained a hidden runaway for months, within five 
: les of his master's house, only his wife knowing his hiding- 
ice. She knew how thousands of these people had been faithful 
our soldiers escaping from Confederate prisons during the 
r, and she felt that a secret affecting their own liberty, or the 






290 Bricks Without Straw 

liberty of one acting or sujffering in their behalf, might be given 
into the keeping of the whole race without danger of revelation, j 
She remembered that amid all the clamorous grief of others, 
while Lugena had mourned and wept over the burning of the 
church and the scenes of blood and horror, she had exhibited 
little of that poignant and overwhelming grief or unappeasable 
anger which she would have expected, under the circumstances, 
from one of her temperament. She concluded, therefore, that the 
woman might have some knowledge in regard to the fate of her 
husband, Eliab, and Berry, which she had not deemed it prudentj 
to reveal. With this thought in mind, she sent for Lugena andl 
asked if she had heard that they were going to hunt for her 
husband with dogs. 

"Yes, Miss Mollie, I'se heerd on't," was the reply, "but nebbei^ 
you mind. Ef Nimbus is alive, dey'll nebber git him in no sechj 
way ez dat, an' dey knows it. 'Sides dat, it's tree days ago, ari 
Nimbus ain't no sech fool ez ter stay round dat long, jes ter be| 
cotched now. I'se glad ter hear it, dough, kase it shows ter me dai 
dey hain't killed him, but wants ter skeer him off, an' git hiir 
outen de kentry. De sheriff — not de high-sheriff, but one ob hi; 
understrappers — wuz up ter our house to-day, a-purtendin' tei 
hunt atter Nimbus. I didn't put no reliance in dat, but somehow 
can't make out cla'r how dey could hev got away with him an. 
Berry an' 'Liab, all on 'em, atter de fight h'yer, an' not left n(j 
trace nor sign on 'em nowhar. 

"Now, I tell yer what's my notion, Miss Mollie," she addec 
approaching closer, and speaking in a whisper; "I'se done a hea 
o' tinkin' on dis yer matter, an' dis is de way I'se done figgered 
out. I don't keer ter let on 'bout it, an' mebbe you kin see furde 
inter it nor I kin, but I'se jes made up my min' dat Nimbus is a 
right somewhars. I don't know what, but it's somewhat not fi| 
from 'Liab — dat yer may be shore on, honey. Now, yer see, Mis 
Mollie, dar's two or tree tings makes me tink so. In de fus' plao 
yer know, I see dat feller. Berry, atter all dis ting wuz ober, ai 



Putting This and That Together 291 

talked wid him an' told him dat Nimbus lef all right, an' dat he 
tuk 'Liab wid him, an' dat Bre'er 'Liab wuz mighty bad hurt. 
Wal, atter I told him dat, an' he'd helped me hunt up de chillens 
dat wuz scattered in de co'n, an' 'bout one place an' anudder, 
■ Berry he 'Hows dat he'll go an' try ter fin' Nimbus an' 'Liab. So 
' he goes off fru de co'n wid dat ar won'ful gun dat jes keeps on 
\ a-shootin' widout ary load. 

t "Atter a while I heahs him ober in de woods a-whistlin' an' 
'ia-carryin' on like a mockin'-bird, ez you'se heerd de quar critter 
'du many a time." Mollie nodded affirmatively, and Lugena went 
"on: "I couldn't help but laugh den, dough I wuz night about 
'-skeered ter death, ter tink what a mighty cute trick it wuz. I 
knowed he wuz a callin' Nimbus an' dat Nimbus 'ud know it, tu, 
'jest ez soon ez he heerd it; but yer know ennybody dat hadn't 
heerd it over an offen, wouldn't nebber tink dat it warn't a 
^mocker waked up by de light, or jes mockin' a cat-bird an' 
, rain-crow, an' de like, in his dreams, ez dey say dey does when de 
-moon shines, yer know." 

'■ Mollie smiled at the quaint conceit, so well justified by the fact 
'she had herself often observed. Lugena continued: 

"I tell yer, Miss Mollie, dat ar Berry's a right cute nigga, fer all 
'^iey say 'bout him. He ain't stiddy, like Nimbus, yer know, ner 
pious like 'Liab — dat is not ter hurt, yer know — but he sartin hab 
ligot a heap ob sense, fer all dat." 

, "It was certainly a very shrewd thing, but I don't see what it 
paas to do with the fate of Nimbus," said Mollie. "I don't wish to 
5r.eem to discourage you, but I am quite certain, myself, that we 
'hall never see Nimbus or Eliab again." 

- "Oh, yer can't discourage me, Miss Mollie," answered the 

I'lolored woman bravely. "I jes knows, er ez good ez knows, dat 

Nimbus is all right yit awhile. Now I tells yer, honey, what dis 

.■er's got ter du wid it. Yer see, it must ha' been nigh about a 

i flialf-hour atter Nimbus left afore Berry went off; jes dat er way I 

ole yer 'bout." 



292 Bricks Without Straw 

"Well?" said Mollie, inquiringly. 

"Wal," continued Lugena, "don't yer see? Dar hain't been 
nary word heard from neither one o' dem boys sence." 

"Well?" said Mollie, knitting her brows in perplexity. 

"Don't yer see, Miss Mollie," said the woman impatiently, "dat 
dey couldn't hab got 'em bofe togedder, 'cept Berry had found 
Nimbus fust?" 

"Well?" 

"Wal! Don't yer see dar would hev been a — a — terrible fight 
afore dem two niggas would hev gin up Bre'er 'Liab, let alone 
derselves? Yer must 'member dat dey had dat ar gun. Sakes-a- 
massy! Miss Mollie, yer orter hev hearn it dat night. 'Peared ter 
me yer could hab heard it clar' roun' de yairth, ef it is round, ez 
yer say 'tis. Now, somebody — some cullu'd body — would have 
been shore ter heah dat gun ef dar'd been a fight." 

"I had not thought of that, Lugena," said Mollie. 

"Co'se yer hadn't, honey; an' dere's sunthin' else yer didn't tink 
ob, nuther, kase yer didn't know it," said Lugena. "Yer min' dat 
boy Berry, he'd done borrered our mule, jest afo' dat, ter take 
Sally an' de chillen an' what few duds dey hez down inter 
Hanson County, whar his brudder Rufe libs, an' whar dey's i 
gwine ter libbin' tu. Dar didn't nobody 'spect him ter git back till \ 
de nex' day, any more'n Nimbus; an' it war jest kinder acciden- 
tal-like dat either on 'em got h'yer dat night. Now, Miss Mollie, 
what yer s'pose hez come ob dat ar mule an' carryall? Dat's de, 
question." 

"I'm sure I don't know, 'Gena," said Mollie thoughtfully. 

"Ner I don't know, nuther," was the response; "but it's jes my' 
notion dat whar dey is, right dar yer'll fin' Nimbus an' Berry, an'i 
not fur off from dem yer'll find Bre'er 'Liab." 

"You may be right," said her listener, musingly. 

"I'se pretty shore on't, honey. Yer see when dat ar under-sher-i 
iff come ter day an' had look all 'round fer Nimbus, he sed, 
finally, sez he, Tse got a 'tachment' — dat's what he call it, Miss 






Putting This and That Together 293 

iMollie — a 'tachment 'gin de property, or sunthin' o' dat kine. I 
ididn't know nary ting 'bout it, but I spunked up an' tole him 
ebbery ting in de house dar was mine. He argyfied 'bout it a right 
smart while, an' finally sed dar wan't nuffin' dar ob no 'count, 
bnnyhow. Den he inquired 'bout de mule an' de carryall, an' atter 
pat he went out an' levelled on de crap." 
j i "Did what? " asked MoUie. 

1 1 "Levelled on de crap. Miss, dat's what he said, least-a-ways. 
itDen he called fer de key ob de 'backer-barn, an' I tole him 
ptwan't nowheres 'bout de house — good reason too, kase Nimbus 
uUus do carry dat key in his breeches pocket, 'long wid his money 
iMn' terbacker. So he takes de axe an' goes up ter de barn, an' I 
i^oes 'long wid him ter see what he's gwine ter du. Den he breaks 
ie staple an' opens de do'. Now, Miss MoUie, 'twan't but a week 

r two ago, of a Sunday atternoon. Nimbus an' I wuz in dar 

ookin' roun', an' dar wuz a right smart bulk o' fine terbacker dar 
jj— some two er tree hundred poun's on't. Now when de sheriff 
ayent in, dar wa'n't more'n four or five han's ob 'backer scattered 
;ong 'twixt what de pile had been an' de do'. Yah! yah! I 
souldn't help laughin' right out, though I wuz dat mad dat I 
wouldn't hardly see, kase I knowed ter once how 'twas. D'yer see 

iow, Miss MoUie?" 

! "I confess I do not," answered the teacher. 

i "No? Wal, whar yer 'spose dat 'backer gone ter, hey?" 

] "I'm sure I don't know. Where do you think?" 
"What I tink become ob dat 'backer? Wal, Miss Mollie, I tink 

Jimbus an' Berry put dat 'backer in dat carryall, an' den put 

pre'er 'Liab in on dat 'backer, an' jest druv off somewhar — 'Gena 

l«i3n't know whar, but dat 'backer'll take 'em a long way wid dat 
■ mule an' carryall. It's all right. Miss Mollie, it's all right wid 

jiimbus. 'Gena ain't feared. She knows her ole man too well fer 

: ^It! 

^ "Yer know he runned away once afo' in de ole slave times. He 
dn't say nary word ter me 'bout gwine ober ter de Yanks, an' de 



294 Bricks Without Straw 

folks all tole me dat I nebber'd see him no mo'. But I knowed 
Nimbus, an' shore 'nough, atter 'bout two year, back he come! 
An' dat's de way it'll be dis time — atter de trouble's ober, he'll 
come back. But dat ain't what worries me now, Miss Mollie," 
continued Lugena. "Co'se I'd like ter know jes whar Nimbus is, 
but I know he's all right. I'se a heap fearder 'bout Bre'er 'Liab, 
fer I 'How it's jes which an' t'other ef we ever sees him again. But 
what troubles me now. Miss Mollie, is 'bout myseff ." 

"About yourself?" asked Mollie, in surprise. 

" 'Bout me an' my chillens, Miss Mollie," was the reply. 

"Why, how is that, 'Gena?" 

"Wal yer see, dar's dat ar 'tachment matter. I don't understan' 
it, nohow." 

"Nor I either," said Mollie. 

"P'raps yer could make out sunthin' 'bout it from dese yer," 
said the colored woman, drawing a mass of crumpled papers 
from her pocket. 

Mollie smoothed them out upon the table beside her, and> 
began her examination by reading the endorsements. The first 
was entitled, "Peyton Winhurn v. Nimbus Desmit, et al. Action 
for the recovery of real estate. Summons." The next was en- 
dorsed, "Copy of Complaint," and another, "Affidavit and Order \ 
of Attachment against Non-Resident or Absconding Debtor." 

"What's dat, Miss Mollie?" asked Lugena, eagerly, as the last 
title was read. "Dat's what dat ar sheriff man said my Nimbus 
was — a non — non — what. Miss Mollie? I tole him 'twan't noi 
sech ting; but la sakes! I didn't know nothing in de worl' 'bout it. 
I jes 'llowed dat 'twas sunthin' mighty mean, an' I knowed dat Ij 
couldn't be very fur wrong nohow, ef I jes contraried ebberyi 
word what he said. What does it mean, Miss Mollie?" 

"It just means," said Mollie, "that Nimbus owes somebody — | 
this Mr. Winburn, I judge, and — " 

"It's a lie! A clar, straight-out lie!" interrupted Lugena. "Nim- 
bus don't owe nobody nary cent — not nary cent. Miss Mollie! j 
Tole me dat hisself jest a little time ago." 



Putting This and That Together 295 

!i "Yes, but this man claims he owes him — swears so, in fact; and 
!that he has run away or hidden to keep from paying it," said 
[iMollie. "He swears he is a non-resident — don't live here, you 
[know; lives out of the State somewhere." 

\ "An Peyton Winburn swars ter dat?" asked the woman, 
^eagerly, 

i| "Yes, certainly." 

I "Didn't I tell yer dat Nimbus was safe, Miss Mollie?" she 
|:ried, springing from her chair. "Don't yer see how dey cotch 
ierselves? Ef der's ennybody on de green yairth dat knows all 
bout dis Ku Kluckin' it's Peyton Winburn, and dat ar Sheriff 
fG-leason. Now, don't yer know dat ef he was dead dey wouldn't 
DC a suin' on him an' a swearin' he'd run away?" 

"I'm sure I don't know, but it would seem so," responded 
Mollie. 

- "Seem so! it's boun' ter be so, honey," said the colored woman, 
' positively. 

« "I don't know, I'm sure," said Mollie. "It's a matter I don't 
fknderstand. I think I had better take these papers over to Captain 
'i'ardee, and see what ought to be done about them. I am afraid 
'here is an attempt to rob you of all your husband has acquired, 
'vhile he is away." 

"Dat's what I'se afeared on," said the other. "An' it wuz what 
iisTimbus 'spected from de fust ob dis h'yer Ku Kluck matter. 
,'Oear me, what ebber will I do, I dunno — I dunno!" The poor 
^voman threw her apron over her head and began to weep. 

"Don't be discouraged, 'Gena," said Mollie, soothingly. "I'll 
'tand by you and get Mr. Pardee to look after the matter for 

-lOU." 

"T'ank ye. Miss Mollie, t'ank ye. But I'se afeared it won't do 
■ o good. Dey's boun' ter break us up, an' dey'll do it, sooner or 
titer! It's all of a piece — a Ku Kluckin' by night, and a-suin' by 
^ay, 'Tain't no use, 'tain't no use! Dey'll hab dere will fust er last, 
^tie way er anudder, shore! " 

Without uncovering her head, the sobbing woman turned and 



296 Bricks Without Straw 

walked out of the room, across the porch and down the path to 
the gate. 

"Not if I can help it!" said the little Yankee woman, as she 
smoothed down her hair, shut her mouth close, and turned to 
make a more thorough perusal of the papers Lugena had left 
with her. Hardly had she finished when she was astonished by 
Lugena's rushing into the room and exclaiming, as she threw 
herself on her knees: 

"Oh, Miss Mollie, I done forgot — I was dat ar flustered 'bout 
de 'tachment an' de like, dat I done forgot what I want ter tel 
yer most ob all. Yer know, Miss Mollie, dem men dat got hurt \ 
dat ar night — de Ku Kluckers, two on 'em, one I 'How, killec 
out-an'-out, an' de todder dat bad cut — oh, my God!" she criec 
with a shudder, "I nebber see de likes — no nebber. Miss Mollie. 
All down his face — from his forehead ter his chin, an' dat I 
too — yes, an' his breast-bone, too — looked like dat wuz all split 
open an' a-bleedin'! Oh, it war horrible, horrible, Miss 
Mollie!" 

The woman buried her face in the teacher's lap as if she would I 
shut out the fearful spectacle. ! 

"There, there," said Mollie, soothingly, as she placed a handi 
upon her head. "You must not think of it. You must try and! 
forget the horrors of that night." 

"Don't yer know, Miss Mollie, dat dem Ku Kluckers ain't 
a-gwine ter let de one ez done dat lib roun' h'yer, ner ennywharl 
else dat dey can come at 'em, world widout end?' 

"Well, I thought you were sure that Nimbus was safe?" 

"Nimbus?" said the woman in surprise, uncovering her face' 
and looking up. "Nimbus? 'Twan't him, Miss Mollie, 'twan't 
him. I 'Hows it mout hev been him dat hurt de one dat 'peared 
ter hev been killed straight out; but it was me dat cut de odderl 
one, Miss Mollie." 

"You?" cried Mollie, in surprise, instinctively drawing back! 
"You?" 



Putting This and That Together 297 

; "Yes'm," said Lugena, humbly, recognizing the repulse. "Me 
— wid de axe! I hope yer don't fault me fer it, Miss Mollie." 

"Blame you? no indeed, 'Gena!" was the reply. "Only it 
jiStartled me to hear you say so. You did entirely right to defend 
[^yourself and Nimbus. You should not let that trouble you for a 
r moment." 

,i "No, Miss Mollie, but don't yer know dat de Ku Kluckers ain't 
a-gwine ter fergit it?" 

[i "Heavens!" said the Yankee girl, springing up from her chair 
'in uncontrollable excitement. "You don't think they would hurt 
-70U — a woman?" 

1^ "Dat didn't save me from bein' stripped an' beat, did it?" 
^ "Too true, too true!" moaned the teacher, as she walked back 
^md forth wringing her hands. "Poor child! What can you 
yio? — what can you do?" 

I "Dat's what I want ter know. Miss Mollie," said the woman. "I 
ilassent sleep ter home at night, an' don't feel safe ary hour in de 
lay. Dem folks won't fergit, an' 'Gena won't nebber be safe 
[jnnywhar dat key kin come, night ner day. What will I do. Miss 
iollie, what will I do? Yer knows Nimbus '11 'How fer 'Gena ter 
like keer ob herself an' de chillen an' de plantation, till he comes 
jack, er sends fer me, an' I dassent stay, not 'nudder day. Miss 
! lollie! What'll I do? What'll I do?" 

|i,' There was silence in the little room for a few moments, as the 
pung teacher walked back and forth across the floor, and the 
olored woman sat and gazed in stupid hopelessness up into her 
ace. Presently she stopped, and, looking down upon Lugena, said 
i'ith impetuous fervor: 

, "You shall not stay, Lugena! You shall not stay! Can you 
iifand it a few nights more?" 

Ic "Oh, yes, I kin stan' it, 'cause I'se got ter. I'se been sleepin' in 
i woods ebber sence, an' kin keep on at it; but I knows whar 
J.) 11 end, an' so der you, Miss Mollie." 
"No, it shall not, 'Gena. You are right. It is not safe for you to 



298 Bricks Without Straw 

stay. Just hide yourself a few nights more, till I can look after 
things for you here, and I will take you away to the North, where 
there are no Ku Klux! " 

"Yer don't mean it, Miss Mollie!" 

"Indeed I do." 

"An' de chillen?" 

"They shall go too." 1 

"God bress yer. Miss Mollie! God bress yer!" 

With moans and sobs, the torrent of her tears burst forth, as 
the poor woman fell prone upon the floor, and catching the hem ; 
of the teacher's robe, kissed it again and again, in a transport of , 
joy. 

1 



45 • Another Ox Gored 



There was a caller who begged to see Mr. Le Moyne for a few | 
minutes. Descending to the sitting-room, Hesden found there Mr. 
Jordan Jackson, who was the white candidate for the Legislature) 
upon the same ticket with a colored man who had left the county 
in fright immediately after the raid upon Red Wing. Hesden was; 
somewhat surprised at this call, for although he had known Mr.| 
Jackson from boyhood, yet there had never been more than a| 
passing acquaintance between them. It is true, Mr. Jackson was a| 
neighbor, living only two or three miles from Mulberry Hill; but 
he belonged to such an entirely different class of society thati 
their knowledge of each other had never ripened into anything 
like familiarity. 



Another Ox Gored 299 

•i Mr. Jackson was what used to be termed a poor man. He and 
? his father before him, as Hesden knew, had lived on a httle, poor 
plantation, surrounded by wealthy neighbors. They owned no 
; slaves, and lived scantily on the products of the farm worked by 
\ themselves. The present occupant was about Hesden's own age. 
! There being no free schools in that county, and his father having 
; been unable, perhaps not even desiring, to educate him other- 
f wise, he had grown up almost entirely illiterate. He had learned 
ito sign his name, and only by strenuous exertions, after his 
f arrival at manhood, had become able, with difficulty, to spell out 
''words from the printed page and to write an ordinary letter in 
1 1 strangely-tangled hieroglyphics, in a spelling which would do 
I credit to a phonetic reformer. He had entered the army, probably 
"because he could not do otherwise, and being of stalwart build, 
' land having great endurance and native courage, before the strug- 
gle was over had risen, despite his disadvantages of birth and 
: education, to a lieutenancy. 

This experience had been of advantage to him in more ways 

\ than one. Chief among these had been the opening of his eyes to 

the fact that he himself, although a poor man, and the scion of a 

poor family, was, in all the manly requisites that go to make up a 

soldier, always the equal, and very often the superior, of his 

^aristocratic neighbors. Little by little, the self-respect which had 

^:been ground out of him and his family by generations of that 

^condition of inferiority which the common-liver, the self-helper 

i jtof the South, was forced to endure under the old slave regime, 

^iegan to grow up in his heart. He began to feel himself a man, 

'•and prized the rank-marks on his collar as the certificate and 

indorsement of his manhood. As this feeling developed, he 

hegan. to consider the relations between himself, his family, and 

^^Dthers like them, and the rich neighbors by whom they were 

^'lurroun hd and looked down upon. And more and more, as he 

j^lid so, 1 e feeling grew upon him that he and his class had been 

A^ronge( cheated — "put upon," he phrased it — in all the past. 



300 Bricks Without Straw 

They had been the "chinking" between the "mud" of slavery and 
the "houselogs" of aristocracy in the social structure of the South 
— a little better than the mud because of the same grain and 
nature as the logs; but useless and nameless except as in relation 
to both. He felt the bitter truth of that stinging aphorism which 
was current among the privates of the Confederate army, which 
characterized the war of Rebellion as "the rich man's war and the 
poor man's fight." 

So, when the war was over. Lieutenant Jordan Jackson did not 
return easily and contentedly to the niche in the social life of his 
native region to which he had been born and bred. He found the 
habit of leadership and command very pleasant, and he deter- 
mined that he would rise in the scale of Horsford society as he 
had risen in the army, simply because he was brave and strong. 
He knew that to do this he must acquire wealth, and looking 
about, he saw opportunities open before him which others had 
not noticed. Almost before the smoke of battle had cleared away, 
Jordan Jackson had opened trade with the invaders, and had 
made himself a prime favorite in the Federal camps. He coined 
money in those days of transition. Fortunately, he had been too 
poor to be in debt when the war broke out. He was independ- 
ently poor, because beyond the range of credit. He had lost 
nothing, for he had nothing but the few poor acres of his 
homestead to lose. 

So he started fair, and before the period of reconstruction 
began he had by thrifty management accumulated quite a com- 
petency. He had bought several plantations whose aristocratic 
owners could no longer keep their grip upon half-worked lands, 
had opened a little store, and monopolized a considerable trade. 
Looking at affairs as they stood at that time, Jordan Jackson said | 
to himself that the opportunity for him and his class had come. 
He had a profound respect for the power and authori^v of the | 
Government of the United States, because it had put < )wn the 
Rebellion. He had been two or three times at the North and was i 



Another Ox Gored 301 

\ astounded at its collective greatness. He said that the colored 
t man and the poor-whites of the South ought to put themselves 
! on the side of this great, busy North, which had opened the way 
i of liberty and progress before them, and establish free schools 
I and free thought and free labor in the fair, crippled, South-land, 
r He thought he saw a great and fair future looming up before his 
t country. He freely gave expression to these ideas, and, as he 
traded very largely with the colored people, soon came to be 

1 regarded by them as a leader, and by "the good people of 

2 Horsford" as a low-down white nigger, for whom no epithet was 
; too vile. 

|- Nevertheless, he grew in wealth, for he attended to his busi- 
•; ness himself, early and late. He answered raillery with raillery, 
5 curses with cursing, and abuse with defiance. He was elected to 
5 conventions and Legislatures, where he did many foolish, some 
bibad and a few wise things in the way of legislation. He knew 
?what he wanted — it was light, liberty, education, and a "fair 
.hack" for all men. How to get it he did not know. He had been 
; warned a thousand times that he must abandon this way of life. 

3 The natural rulers of the county felt that if they could neutralize 
ihis influence and that which went out from Red Wing, they 
' could prevent the exercise of ballatorial power by a considerable 
>:portion of the majority, and by that means "redeem" the 
iicounty. 

Ji They did not wish to hurt Jordan Jackson, He was a good 
!^enough man. His father had been an honest man, and an old 
itcitizen. Nobody knew a word against his wife or her family, 
'Except that they had been poor. The people who had given their 
'.hearts to the Confederate cause, remembered too, at first, his 
ftgallant service; but that had all been wiped out from their minds 
i^oy his subsequent "treachery." Even after the attack on Red 
-Wing, he had been warned by his friends to desist. 

One morning, he had found on the door of his store a paper 
> :ontaining the following words, written inside a little sketch of a 



302 Bricks Without Straw 

co£6n: "Jo^^^^^ Jackson, If you don't get out of here in three 
days, you will go to the bone yard. K.K.K." 

He had answered this by a defiant, ill-spelled notice, pasted 
just beside it, in which he announced himself as always ready to 
meet any crowd of "cowards and villains who were ashamed of 
their own faces, at any time, night or day." His card was English 
prose of a most vigorous type, interspersed with so much of 
illiterate profanity as to satisfy any good citizen that the best 
people of Horsford were quite right in regarding him as a most 
desperate and dangerous man — one of those whose influence 
upon the colored people was to array them against the whites, 
and unless promptly put down, bring about a war of races — 
which the white people were determined never to have in Hors- 
ford, if they had to kill every Radical in the county in order to 
live in peace with their former slaves, whom they had always 
nourished with paternal affection and still regarded with a most 
tender care. 

This man met Hesden as the latter came out upon the porch, 
and with a flushed face and a peculiar twitching about his mouth, 
asked if he could see him in private for a moment. 

Hesden led the way to his own room. Jackson then, having 
first shut the door, cautiously said: 

"You know me, Mr. Le Moyne?" 

"Certainly, Jackson." 

"An' you knew my father before me?" 

"Of course. I knew old man Billy Jackson very well in my 
young days." 

"Did you ever know anything mean or disreputable about 
him?" 

"No, certainly not; he was a very correct man, so far as I ever 
heard." 

"Poor but honest?" — with a sneer. 

"Well, yes; a poor man, but a very correct man." 

"Well, did you ever know anything disreputable about me?" 
keenly. 



Another Ox Gored 303 

"Well — why — ^Mr. Jackson — you — " stammered Hesden, 
much confused. 

"Out with it!" angrily. "I'm a Radical?" 
"Yes — and — you know, your political course has rendered you 
very unpopular." 

"Of course! A man has no right to his own political 
opinions." 
j "Well, but you know, Mr. Jackson, yours have been so pecul- 
' iar and so obnoxious to our best people. Besides, you have 
: expressed them so boldly and defiantly. I do not think our people 
have any ill-feeling against you, personally; but you cannot 
•I wonder that so great a change as we have had should excite 
•[ many of them very greatly. You should not be so violent, Mr. 
jj Jackson." 

] "Violent — Hell! You'd better go and preach peace to Eliab 

Hill. Poor fellow! I don't reckon the man lives who ever heard 

him say a harsh thing to any one. He was always that mild I used 

it to wonder the Lord didn't take him long ago. Nigger as he was, 

i and cripple as he was, I'd ruther had his religion than that of all 

the mean, hypocritical, murdering aristocrats in Horsford." 
i; "But, Mr. Jackson, you should not speak in that way of our 
[5 best citizens." 

1 1 "Oh, the devil! I know — but that is no matter, Mr. Le Moyne. 
'' I didn't come to argue with you. Did you ever hear anything 
\i agin' me outside of my politics?" 
fj "I don't know that I ever did." 

"If you were in a tight place, would you have confidence in 
■'t Jordan Jackson as a friend?" 

"You know I have reason to remember that," said Hesden, 
■«/ with feeling. "You helped me when I could not help myself. It's 
' not every man that would care about his horse carrying double 
when he was running away from the Yanks." 

"Ah! you remember that, then?" with a touch of pride in his 
• voice. 

"Yes, indeed! Jackson," said Hesden, warmly. 



304 Bricks Without Straw 

"Well, would you do me a good turn to pay for that?" 

"Certainly — anything that — " hesitating. 

"Oh, damn it, man, don't strain yourself! I didn't ask any 
questions when I helped you! " 

"Mr. Jackson," said Hesden, with dignity, "I merely wished to 
say that I do not care at this time to embroil myself in politics. 
You know I have an old mother who is very feeble. I have long 
regretted that affairs are in the condition that they are in, and 
have wondered if something could not be done. Theoretically, 
you are right and those who are with you. Praaically, the matter 
is very embarrassing. But I do not hesitate to say, Mr. Jackson, 
that those who commit such outrages as that perpetrated at Red 
Wing disgrace the name of gentleman, the county, and State, the 
age we live in, and the religion we profess. That I tuill say." 

"And that's quite enough, Mr. Le Moyne. All I wanted was to 
ask you to act as my trustee." 

"Your trustee in what?" 

"There is a deed I have just executed conveying everything I 
have to you, and I want you to sell it off and dispose of it the best 
you can, and send me the money." 

"Send it to you?" 

"Yes, I'm going away." 

"Going away? Why? You are not in debt?" 

"I don't owe a hundred dollars." 

"Then why are you doing this? I don't understand." 

"Mr. Le Moyne," said Jackson, coming close to him and 
speaking in a low intense tone, "I was whipped last night! " 

"Whipped!" 

"Yes." 

"By whom?" 

"By my own neighbors, in the sight of my wife and] 
daughter! " 

"BytheKuKlux?" 

"That's what they call themselves." 



Another Ox Gored 305 

"My God, it cannot be! " 

"Cannot?" The man's face twitched nervously, as, dropping 
his hat, he threw off his light coat and, opening his shirt-collar 
and turning away his head, showed his shoulder covered with 
wales, still raw and bleeding. 

"My God!" cried Hesden, as he put up his hand and started 
back in horror. "And you a white man?" 

"Yes, Mr. Le Moyne," said Jackson, turning his face, burning 

with shame and indignation, toward his high-bred neighbor, 

"and the only reason this was done — the only thing agin me — is 

' that I was honestly in favor of giving to the colored man the 

: rights which the law of the land says he shall have, like other 

- men. "When the war was over, Mr. Le Moyne, I didn't 'give up,' 

as all you rich folks talked about doing, and try to put up with 

ilwhat was to come afterward. I hadn't lost nothing by the war, 

but, on the contrary, had gained what I had no chance to git in 

' any other way. So I jest looked things square in the face and 

made up my mind that it was a good thing for me, and all such 

2is me, that the damned old Confederacy was dead. And the more 

I thought on't the more I couldn't help seein' and believin' that it 

Awas right and fair to free the niggers and let them have a fair 

how and a white man's chance — votin' and all. That's what I 

:all a fair hack, and I swear, Mr. Le Moyne, I don't know how it 

oay seem to you, but to my mind any man that ain't willing to 

et any other man have that, is a damn coward! I'm as white as 

tnybody, and hain't no more reason to stand up for niggers than 

ny of the rest of the white people — no, nor half as much as most 

if 'em, for, as fur as I know, I hain't got no relations among 'em, 

;>ut I do say that if the white folks of the South can't stand up to 

' ; fair fight with the niggers at the polls, without cuttin', and 

Uurderin', and burnin', and shootin', and whippin', and Ku 

luxin', and cheatin', and swindlin', they are a damned no-'count 

iople, and don't deserve no sort of show in the world — no more 

lan a mean, sneakin', venomous moccasin-snake — there!" 



3o6 Bricks Without Straw 

"But you don't think — " Hesden began. 

"Think? Damn it, I know!" broke in Jackson. "They said if I 
would quit standin' up for the niggers, they'd let me oflF, even 
after they'd got me stripped and hung up. I wouldn't do it! I 
didn't believe then they'd cut me up this way; but they did! An' 
now I'm goin'. I'd stay an' fight, but 'tain't no use; an' I couldn't 
look a man in the eye who I thought tuk a hand in that whippin' 
without killin' him. I've got to go, Le Moyne," he said with 
clenched fists, "or I shall commit murder before the sun goes 
down." 

"Where are you going?" 

"God knows! Somewhere where the world's free and the' 
earth's fresh, and where it's no crime to have been born poor or' 
to uphold and maintain the laws of the land." 

"I'm sorry, Jackson, but I don't blame you. You can't live here 
in peace, and you are wise to go," said Hesden, extending his 
hand. 

"Will you be my trustee?" 

"Yes." 

"God bless you!" 

The angry, crushed, and outraged man broke into tears as hd 
shook the hand he held. 

There was an hour or two of close consultation, and theri 
Hesden Le Moyne looked thoughtfully after this earnest an(| 
well-meaning man, who was compelled to flee from the land ioi 
which he had fought, simply because he had adopted the polio 
and principles which the conquering power had thrust into th< 
fundamental law, and endeavored to carry them out in goo(l 
faith. Like the fugitive from slavery in the olden time, he hoi 
started toward the North Pole on the quest for liberty. 



46 • Backward and Forward 



The task which Hesden Le Moyne undertook when he as- 
sumed the care and protection of Ehab Hill, was no trivial one, 
IS he well understood. 

He realized as fully as did Nimbus the necessity of absolute 

,:oncealment, for he was well aware that the blaze of excitement 

vhich would sweep over Horsford, when the events that had 

)ccurred at Red Wing should become known, would spare no 

.me who should harbor or conceal any of the recognized leaders 

jtf the colored men. He knew that not only that organization 

i/hich had just shown its existence in the county, but the vast 

xiiajority of all the white inhabitants as well, would look upon 

;!iis affair as indubitable evidence of the irrepressible conflict of 

' aces, in which they all believed most devoutly. 

■ He had looked forward to this time with great apprehension. 

dthough he had scrupulously refrained from active participa- 

on in political life, it was not from any lack of interest in the 

olitical situation of the country. He had not only the ordinary 

istinct of the educated Southern man for political thought — an 

[Stinct which makes every man in that section first of all things 

jlpartisan, and constitutes politics the first and most important 

fiisiness of life — but besides this general interest in public affairs 

p had also an inherited bias of hostility to the right of secession, 

\\ well as to its policy. His father had been what was termed a 

pOouglas Democrat," and the son had absorbed his views. With 

■at belief in a father's infallibility which is so general in that 

rt of the country, Hesden, despite his own part in the war and 

; chagrin which defeat had brought, had looked only for evil 

i iiults to come out of the present struggle, which he believed to 

' Ve been uselessly precipitated. 

It was in this state of mind that he had watched the new phase 

307 



3o8 Bricks Without Straw 

of the "irrepressible conflict" which supervened upon the down- 
fall of the Rebellion. In so doing, he had arrived at the following 
conclusions: 

1. That it was a most fortunate and providential thing that the 
Confederacy had failed. He had begun to realize the wisdom of 
Washington when he referred to the dogma of "State rights" as 
"that bantling — I like to have said that monster." 

2. That the emancipation of the slaves would ultimately prove 
advantageous to the white man. 

3. That it was the part of honorable men fairly and honestly to 
carry out and give effect to all the conditions, expressed and implied, 
on which power, representation, and autonomy were restored to the 
recently rebellious States. This he believed to be a personal duty, and 
a failure so to do he regarded as a disgrace to every man in any way 
contributing to it, especially if he had been a soldier and had shared 
the defeat of which these conditions were a consequence. 

4. He did not regard either the war or the legislation known as 
reconstructionary as having in any manner affected the natural 
relation of the races. In the old times he had never felt or believed 
that the slave was inherently endowed with the same rights as the 
master; and he did not see how the results of war could enhance his 
natural rights. He did not believe that the colored man had an 
inherent right to freedom or to self-government. Whatever right of 
that kind he might now have was simply by the free grace of the 
conqueror. He had a right to the fruit of his own labor, to the care, 
protection, and service of his own children, to the society and 
comfort of his wife, to the protection of his own person, to mar- 
riage, the ballot, possessory capacity, and all those things which 
distinguish the citizen from the chattel — not because of his man- 
hood, nor because of inherent co-equality of right with the white 
man; but simply because the national legislation gave it to him as a 
condition precedent of statal rehabilitation. 

These may seem to the Northern reader very narrow views; 
and so they are, as compared with those that underlay the spirit 
of resistance to rebellion, and the fever heat for human rights, 
which was the animating principle in the hearts of the people 
when they endorsed and approved those amendments which 
were the basis of reconstructionary legislation. It should be re- 



Backward and Forward 309 

membered, however, that even these views were infinitely in 
advance of the ideas generally entertained by his white fellow- 
citizens of the South. Nearly all of them regarded these matters 
in a very different light; and most naturally, too, as any one may 
understand who will remember what had gone before, and will 
i keep in mind that defeat does not mean a new birth, and that 
warfare leaves men unchanged by its results, whatever may be its 
^' effects on nations and societies. 

lij They regretted the downfall of the Confederacy as the 
e triumph of a lower and baser civilization — the ascendency of a 
J false idea and an act of unrighteous and unjustifiable subversion. 
^. To their minds it was a forcible denial of their rights, and, to a 
5 large portion of them, a dishonorable violation of that contract 
, or treaty upon which the Federal Union was based, and by which 
. the right for which they fought had, according to their construc- 
2; tion, been assured. As viewed by them, the result of the war had 
»i not changed these facts, nor justified the infraction of the rights 
- of the South. 

In the popular phrase of that day, they "accepted the situa- 

. y tion" — which to their minds simply meant that they would not 

T fight any more for independent existence. The North understood 

: it to mean that they would accept cheerfully and in good faith 

f any terms and conditions which might be imposed upon them as 

a condition of rehabilitation. 

The masses of the Southern whites regarded the emancipation 

■ of the negro simply as an arbitrary exercise of power, intended as 

ia punishment for the act of attempted secession — which act, 

Ivvhile many believed it to have been impolitic, few believed to be 

pin conflict with the true theory of our government. They consid- 

:. 'jered the freeing of the slave merely a piece of wanton spite, 

: nspired, in great measure, by sheer envy of Southern superiority, 

, jjn part by angry hate because of the troubles, perils, and losses of 

, '^he war, and, in a very small degree, by honest though absurd 

anaticism. They did not believe that it was done for the sake of 



rii 



310 Bricks Without Straw 

the slave, to secure his liberty or to establish his rights; but they 
believed most devoutly that it was done solely and purposely to 
injure the master, to punish the rebel, and to still further cripple 
and impoverish the South. It was, to them, an unwarrantable 
measure of unrighteous retribution inspired by the lowest and 
basest motives. 

But if, to the mass of Southern white men, emancipation was a 
measure born of malicious spite in the breast of the North, what 
should they say of that which followed — the enfranchisement of' 
the black? It was a gratuitous insult — a causeless infamy! It was' 
intended to humiliate, without even the mean motive of advaa 
tage to be derived. They did not for a moment believe — they d 
not believe to-day — that the negro was enfranchised for his own 
sake, or because the North believed that he was entitled tc 
self-government, or was fit for self-government; but simply and 
solely because it was hoped thereby to degrade, overawe, anc 
render powerless the white element of the Southern populations 
They thought it a fraud in itself, by which the North pretende 
to giVQ back to the South her place in the nation; but instead! 
gave her only a debased and degraded co-ordination with a rac'| 
despised beyond the power of words to express. 

This anger seemed — and still seems to the Northern mind- 
useless, absurd, and ridiculous. It appears to us as groundless an' 
almost as laughable as the frantic and impotent rage of t 
Chinaman who has lost his sacred queue by the hand of tl' 
Christian spoiler. To the Northern mind the cause is entire! 
incommensurate with the anger displayed. One is inclined to as 
with a laugh, "Well, what of it?" Perhaps there is not a sing'|%f 
Northern resident of the South who has not more than onrf^fdi 
offended some personal friend by smiling in his face while l'?'ife 
raged, with white lips and glaring eyes, about this culminatiir^'ifol 
ignominy. Yet it was sadly real to them. In comparison with th'Nlii 
all other evils seemed light and trivial, and whatever tended *}-^Wesf 
prevent it, was deemed fair and just. For this reason, the Souf^^^orc 



to 



Backward and Forward 311 

yerners felt themselves not only justified, but imperatively called 
i upon, in every way and manner, to resist and annul all legisla- 
jdon having this end in view. Regarding it as inherently fraudu- 
ilent, malicious, and violent, they felt no compunctions in defeat- 
i ling its operation by counterfraud and violence. 

It was thus that the elements of reconstruction affected the 
learts and heads of most of the Southern whites. To admit that 
jihey were honest in holding such views as they did is only to give 
jhem the benefit of a presumption which, when applied to the 
i,cts and motives of whole peoples, becomes irrefutable. A mob 
nay be wrong-headed, but it is always right-hearted. What it 
loes may be infamous, but underlying its acts is always the sting 
^ f a great evil or the hope of a great good. 

Thus it was, too, that to the subtler mind and less selfish heart 

^f Hesden Le Moyne, every attempt to nullify the effect or evade 

. , ae operation of the Reconstruction laws was tinged with the 

vlea of personal dishonor. To his understanding, the terms of 

. irrender were, not merely that he would not again fight for a 

parate governmental existence, but, also, that he would submit 

.' such changes in the national polity as the conquering majority 

ight deem necessary and desirable as conditions precedent to 

,istored power; and would honestly and fairly, as an honorable 

,an and a brave soldier, carry out those laws either to successful 

lition or to fair and legitimate repeal. 

He was not animated by any thought of advantage to himself 

jt to his class to arise from such ideas. Unlike Jordan Jackson, 

d men of his type, there was nothing which his class could gain 

ereby, except a share in the ultimate glory and success of an 

i^iarged and solidified nation. The self-abnegation which he had 

rned from three years of duty as a private soldier and almost a 

'j^time of patient attendance upon a loved but exacting invalid, 

i lined him to study the movements of society and the world, 

jihout especial reference to himself, or the narrow circle of his 

lily or class. To his mind, honor — that honor which he ac- 



312 Bricks Without Straw 

counted the dearest birthright his native South had given — re- 
quired that from and after the day of his surrender he should 
seek and desire, not the gratification of revenge nor the display of 
prejudice, but the success and glory of the great republic. He felt 
that the American Nation had become greater and more glorious 
by the very act of overcoming rebellion. He recognized that the 
initial right or wrong of that struggle, whatever it might have 
been, should be subordinated in all minds to the result — an 
individual Nation. It was a greater and a grander thing to be an 
American than to have been a Confederate! It was more honora- 
ble and knightly to be true in letter and in spirit to every law of 
his reunited land than to make the woes of the past an excuse for 
the wrongs of the present. He felt all the more scrupulous in 
regard to this, because those measures were not altogether such 
as he would have adopted, nor such as he could yet believe would i 
prove immediately successful. He thought that every Southern i 
man should see to it especially that, if any element of reconstruc- 
tion failed, it should not be on account of any lack of honest,; 
sincere and hearty co-operation on his part. 

It was for this reason that he had taken such interest in thei 
experiment that was going on at Red Wing in educating the 
colored people. He did not at first believe at all in the capacity of 
the negro for culture, progress, self-support, or self-government; 
but he believed that the experiment, having been determined on. 
by the nation, should be fairly and honestly carried out and its 
success or failure completely demonstrated. He admitted frankly 
that, if they had such capacity, they undoubtedly had the right to 
use it; because he believed the right inherent and inalienable 
with any race or people having the capacity. He considered that 
it was only the lack of co-ordinate capacity that made the 
Africans unfit to exercise co-ordinate power with individuals of 
the white race. 

He thought they should be encouraged by every means to 
develop what was in them, and readily admitted that, should the 



Backward and Forward 313 

^experiment succeed and all distinction of civil right and political 
ti power be successfully abolished, the strength and glory of the 
1, nation would be wonderfully enhanced. His partiality for the 
Dtwo chief promoters of the experiment at Red Wing had greatly 
: increased his interest in the result, which had by no means been 
i diminished by his acquaintance with Mollie Ainslie. 
) It was not, however, until he bent over his unconscious charge 
I in the stillness of the morning, made an examination of the 
a,i wounds of his old playmate by the flickering light of the lamp, 
isind undertook the process of resuscitation and cure, that he 
icDegan to realize how his ancient prejudice was giving way before 
::he light of what he could not but regard as truth. The applica- 
Jiion of some simple remedies soon restored Eliab to conscious- 
ness, but he found that the other injuries were so serious as to 
-ilemand immediate surgical attendance, and would require con- 
siderable time for their cure. 

■i His first idea had been to keep Eliab's presence at his house 

entirely concealed; but as soon as he realized the extent of his 

ijuries, he saw that this would be impossible, and concluded 

hat the safer way would be to entrust the secret to those servants 

.!/ho were employed "about the lot," which includes, upon a 

outhern plantation, all who are not regularly engaged in the 

j^fop. He felt the more willing to do this because of the attach- 

»'ient felt for the sweet-tempered but deformed minister at Red 

/ing by all of his race in the county. He carefully impressed 

'oon the two women and Charles, the stable-boy, the necessity of 



3ie utmost caution in regard to the matter, and arranged with 

r,em to care for his patient by turns, so as never to leave him 

-lone. He sent to the post at Boyleston for a surgeon, whose 

ming chanced not to be noticed by the neighbors, as he arrived 

>st after dark and went away before daylight to return to his 

ty. A comfortable cot was arranged for the wounded man, and, 

make the care of him less onerous, as well as to avoid the 

nark which continual use of the ladder would be sure to excite, 



314 Bricks Without Straw 

Charles was directed to cut a doorway through the other gable of 
the old house into one of the rooms in a newer part. Charles wasi 
one of those men found on almost every plantation, who can! 
"turn a hand to almost anything." In a short time he had! 
arranged a door from the chamber above "Marse Hesden's! 
room," and the task of nursing the stricken man back to life and 
such health as he might thereafter have, was carried on by the! 
faithful band of watchers in the dim light of the old attic and 
amid the spicy odor of the "bulks" of tobacco, which were stored 
there awaiting a favorable market. 

Hesden was so occupied with this care that it was not until th^ 
next day that he became aware of Mollie's absence. As she ha^ 
gone without preparation or farewell, he rightly judged that ij 
was her intention to return. At first, he thought he would go 
once to Red Wing and assure himself of her safety, but 
moment's consideration showed him not only that this was prolj 
ably unnecessary, but also that to do so would attract attentioj< 
and perhaps reveal the hiding-place of Eliab. Besides, he fej 
confident that she would not be molested, and thought it quite 
well that she should not be at Mulberry Hill for a few days, uni'| 
the excitement had somewhat worn away. 

On the next day, Eliab inquired so pitifully for both Mi 
Mollie and Nimbus, that Hesden, although he knew it was, 
half-delirious anxiety, had sent Charles on an errand to a plant-i 
tion in that vicinity, with directions to learn all he could i 
affairs there, if possible without communicating directly wii 
Miss Ainslie. 

This he did, and reported everything quiet — Nimbus and Be ■ 
not heard from; Eliab supposed to have been killed; the coloii 
people greatly alarmed; and "Miss Mollie a-comfortin' an' <ii»,iji,; 
couragin' on 'em night an' day." -fkki 

Together with this anxiety came the trust confided to Hescfl 
by Jordan Jackson, and the new, and at first somewhat arduca 
duties imposed thereby. In the discharge of these he was brou| 



Breasting the Torrent 315 

kjato communication with a great many of the best people of the 

ounty, and did not hesitate to express his opinion freely as to the 

niutrage at Red Wing. He was several times warned to be pru- 

jent, but he answered all warnings so firmly, and yet with so 

iiuch feeling, that he was undisturbed. He stood so high, and had 

I ;d so pure a life, that he could even be allowed to entertain 

obnoxious sentiments without personal danger, so long as he did 

rpt attempt to reduce them to practice or attempt to secure for 

3)lored people the rights to which he thought them entitled. 

'owever, a great deal of remark was occasioned by the fact of 

; is having become trustee for the fugitive Radical, and he was 

; eely charged with having disgraced and degraded himself and 

■ s family by taking the part of a "renegade. Radical white 

; gger," like Jackson. This duty took him from home during the 

-y ii^ 3. direction away from Red Wing, and a part of each night 

: sat by the bedside of Eliab. So that more than a week had 

I ssed, during which he had found opportunity to take but three 

. a sals with his mother, and had not yet been able to visit Red 

.;: s'ing. 



47 • Breasting the Torrent 



b make up for the sudden loss of society occasioned by the 
jj'l lultaneous departure of Mollie and the unusual engrossment 

Hesden in business matters of pressing moment, as he had 
l^jj j^rmed her, Mrs. Le Moyne had sent for one of the sisters of 
jl If son's deceased wife, Miss Hetty Lomax, to come and visit her. 
Ljj [jvas to this young lady that Hesden had appealed when the 



3i6 Bricks Without Straw 

young teacher was suddenly stricken down in his house, and who 
had so rudely refused. Learning that the object of her antipathy 
was no longer there, Miss Hetty came and made herself very 
entertaining to the invalid by detailing to her all the horrors, real 
and imagined, of the past few days. Day by day she was in the 
invalid's room, and it was from her that Mrs. Le Moyne had! 
learned all that was contained in her letter to Mollie concerning 
the public feeling and excitement. A week had elapsed, when 
Miss Hetty one day appeared with a most interesting budget of 
news, the recital of which seemed greatly to excite Mrs. Le 
Moyne. At first she listened with incredulity and resentment; 
then conviction seemed to force itself upon her mind, and anger 
succeeded to astonishment. Calling her serving woman, she askedi 
impetuously: 

"Maggie, is your Master Hesden about the house?" 

"Really now mistis," said the girl in some confusion, "I can't 
edsackly tell. He war, de las' time I seed him; but then he mout 
hev gone out sence dat, yer know." 

"Where was he then?" 

"He war in his room, ma'am, wid a strange gemmen." 

"Yes," added the mistress, in a significant tone, "he seems to, 
have a great deal of strange company lately." !! 

The girl glanced at her quickly as she arranged the bed-i 
clothing, and the young lady who sat in the easy chair chuckle 
knowingly. 

So the woman answered artfully, but with seeming innO' 
cence: W 

"La, mistis, it certain am quare how you finds out t'ings. 'Pearsi 
like a mouse can't stir 'bout de house, but you hears it quicker 
nor de cat." ' 

It was deft flattery, and the pleased mistress swallowed the 
bait with a smile. 

"I always try to know what is going on in my own house," she 
responded, complacently. 



Breasting the Torrent 317 

"Should t'ink yer did," said the colored woman, gazing at her 

(i admiring wonder. "I don't 'How dar's ennybody come inter dis 

■^,;r house in one while, dat yer didn't know all 'bout 'em widout 

kttin' eyes on 'em. I wouldn't be at all s'prised, dat I wouldn't," 

( id she to the young lady, "ter find dat she knows whose h'yer 

|)w, an' whose been h'yer ebbery day sence Marse Hesden's been 

f busy. La! she's a woman — she's got a headpiece, she hab!" 

; "Yes," said the invalid; "I know that that odious scallawag, 

iiitrdan Jackson, has been here and has been shut up with my son, 

Insulting and planning the Lord knows what, here in this very 

riuse of mine. Pretty business for a Le Moyne and a Richards to 

: in! You all thought you'd keep it from me; but you 

duldn't." 

T"La, sakes!" said the girl, with a look of relief, "yer mustn't say 
?■ / didn't never try ter keep it. I know'd yer'd find it out." 
"When do you say you saw him?" 

e"I jes disremembers now what time it war. Some time dis 
r[)rnin' though. It mout hev been some two — free hours ago." 

"Who was the gentleman with him — I hope he was a 
i ntleman?" 

TOh la, ma'am, dat he war — right smart ob one, I should 
I cge, though I nebber seen his face afo' in my born days." 
-J'And don't know his name?" 
: "Not de fust letter ob it, mistis." 

vlaggie might well say that, since none of the letters of the 
aiibabet were known to her; but when she conveyed the idea 
t:sc she did not know the name of the visitor, it was certainly a 
Sftch of the truth; but then she did not know as "Marse 
tjiifden" would care about his mother knowing the name of his 
v'cor, and she had no idea of betraying anything which con- 
ct'iied him against his wish. So in order to be perfectly safe, she 
d ned it best to deceive her mistress. 

Tell your Master Hesden I wish to see him immediately, 
^1 jgie," said Mrs. Le Moyne, imperiously. 



3i8 Bricks Without Straw 

"Yes'm," said the girl, as she left the room to perform her 
errand. 

There was a broad grin upon her face as she crossed the 
passage and knocked at the door of Hesden's room, thinking how 
she had flattered her mistress into a revelation of her own 
ignorance. She was demure enough, however, when Hesden 
himself opened the door and inquired what she wished. 

"Please, sah, de mistis tole me ter ax yer ter come inter her 
room, right away." 

"Anything the matter, Maggie?" 

"Nuffin', only jes she wants ter talk wid yer 'bout sunthin', I 
reckon." 

"Who is with her?" 

"Miss Hetty." 

"Yes" — musingly. 

"An' de mistis 'pears powerfully put out 'bout sunthin' or 
udder," volunteered the girl. 

"Yes," repeated Hesden, absently. "Well, Maggie, say to my 
mother that I am very closely engaged, and I hope she will 
please excuse me for a few hours." 

The girl returned and delivered her message. 

"What!" exclaimed the sick woman, in amazement. "He must 
have turned Radical sure enough, to send me such an answer as 
that! Maggie," she continued, with severe dignity, "you must be 
mistaken. Return and tell my son that I am sure you are 
mistaken." 

"Oh, dar ain't no mistake 'bout it, mistis. Dem's de berry 
words Marse Hesden said, shore." 

"Do as I bade you, Maggie," said the mistress, quietly. 

"Oh, certain, mistis, certain — only dar ain't no mistake," said •* 
the woman, as she returned with the message she was charged to Ij 
deliver. * 

"Did you ever see such a change?" asked Mrs. Le Moyne of her ■) 
companion as soon as the door was closed upon the servant. 






Breasting the Torrent 319 

"There never was a time before when Hesden did not come the 
instant I called, no matter upon what he might be engaged." 

"Yes," said the other, laughingly, "I used to tell Julia that it 
would make me awfully jealous to have a husband jump up and 
leave me to go and pet his mother before the honeymoon was 
over." 

"Poor Julia!" sighed the invalid. "Hesden never appreciated 
I her — never. He didn't feel her loss as I did." 

"I should think not," replied the sister-in-law, sharply. "But he 
might at least have had regard enough for her memory not to 
have flirted so outrageously with that Yankee school marm." 

"What do you mean, Hetty!" said Mrs. Le Moyne, severely. 
"Please remember that it is my son of whom you are 
; speaking." 

"Oh, yes," said Miss Hetty, sharply, "we have been speaking of 
J him all along, and — " 

The door from the hall was opened quickly, and Hesden 
,1 looking in, said pleasantly, 
jj "I hope you are not suffering, mother?" 

! "Not more than usual, Hesden," said Mrs. Le Moyne, "but I 
\wish to see you very particularly, my son." 

ji "I am very busy, mother, on a most important matter; but you 
yknow I will always make everything give way for you." 
^ So saying, he stepped into the room and stood awaiting his 
^;mother's pleasure, after bowing somewhat formally to the 
(younger lady. 

, "What are these reports I hear about you, Hesden?" asked his 
mother, with some show of anger. 

i "I beg your pardon, little mother," said Hesden smiling; "but 
^was it to make this inquiry you called me from my business?" 
i; "Yes, indeed," was the reply; "I should like to know what 
|, there could be of more importance to you than such slanderous 
J reports as Cousin Hetty tells me are being circulated about 
^you." 



320 Bricks Without Straw 

"I have no doubt they are interesting if Cousin Hetty brings 
them," said Hesden; "but you will please excuse me now, as I 
have matters of more importance to attend to." 

He bowed, and would have passed out, but the good lady cried 
out almost with a shriek, 

"But Hesden! Hesden! Hetty says that — that — that they say- 
you — are a — a Radical!" 

She started from her pillows, and leaned forward with one 
white hand uplifted, as she waited his reply. 

He turned back instantly, stepped quickly to the bedside, and 
put his one arm caressingly about her as he said earnestly, "I am 
afraid, mother, if one speaks of things which have occurred in 
Horsford during the past few days as a man of honor ought, he 
must expect to be called bad names." 

"But Hesden — you are not — do tell me, my son," said his 
mother, in a tone of entreaty, "that you are not one of those i 
horrid Radicals!" 

"There, there; do not excite yourself, mother. I will explain; 
everything to you this evening," said he, soothingly. 

"But you are not a Radical?" she cried, catching his hand. 

"I am a man of honor, always," he replied, proudly. 

"Then you cannot be a Radical," she said, with a happy 
smile. 

"But he is — he is!" exclaimed the younger lady, starting for- 
ward with flushed cheeks and pointing a trembling finger at his 
face, as if she had detected a guilty culprit. "He is!" she repeated.. 
"Deny it if you dare, Hesden Le Moyne! " IH 

"Indeed, Miss Hetty," said Hesden, turning upon her with 
dignified severity. "May I inquire who constituted you either my 
judge or my accuser." 

"Oh fie! Hesden," said his mother. "Isn't Hetty one of the 
family?" 

"And has every Richards and Le Moyne on the planet a righ 
to challenge my opinions?" asked Hesden. 






Breasting the Torrent 321 

i| "Certainly!" said his mother, with much energy, while her 
pale face flushed, and her upraised hand trembled — "certainly 
ithey have, my son, if they think you are about to disgrace those 
toames. But do deny it! Do tell me you are not a Radical!" she 
pleaded. 
LTj "But suppose I were?" he asked, thoughtfully. 
I'l "I would disown you! I would disinherit you!" shrieked the 
, texcited woman, shrinking away from his arm as if there were 
contagion in the touch. "Remember, sir," she continued threaten- 
i^^ingly, "that Mulberry Hill is still mine, and it shall never go to a 
I Radical — never! " 

"There, there, mother; do not excite yourself unnecessarily," 
ijaid Hesden. "It is quite possible that both these matters are 
peyond either your control or mine." 

"Why, what do you mean?" 
*' "I simply mean that circumstances over which we have no 
' ;ontrol have formed my opinions, and others over which we have 
''ills little control may affect the ownership of this plantation." 
"Why — what in the world! Hesden, are you mad? You know 
hat it is mine by the will of my father! Who or what could 
nterfere with my right?" 

' "I sincerely hope that no one may," answered Hesden; "but 
shall be able to tell you more about these matters after 
'linner, when I promise that you shall know all, without any 
I^servation." 

'1 There had been a calm, almost sorrowful, demeanor about 

iesden during this conversation, which had held the excited 

Vomen unconsciously in check. They were so astonished at the 

'iDolness of his manner and the matter-of-fact sincerity of his 

ones that they were quite unable to express the indignation and 

bhorrence they both felt that his language merited. Now, how- 

i^er, as he moved toward the door, the younger lady was no 

)nger able to restrain herself. 

"I knew it was so!" she said. "That miserable nigger-teacher 



322 Bricks Without Straw 

wasn't here for nothing! The mean, low hussy! I should think he 
would have been ashamed to bring her here anyhow — under his 
mother's very nose!" 

Hesden had almost reached the door of the room when these 
words fell upon his ear. He turned and strode across the room 
until he stood face to face with his mother once more. There was 
no lack of excitement about him now. His face was pale as death, 
his eyes blazed, and his voice trembled. 

"Mother," said he, "I have often told you that I would never 
bring to you a wife whom you did not approve. I hope never to 
do so; but I wish to say one thing: Miss Ainslie is a pure anc 
lovely woman. None of us have ever known her superior. She is 
worthy of any man's devotion. I would not have said this but fori 
what has been spoken here. But now I say, that if I ever hear that] 
any one having a single drop of our blood in her veins has 
spoken ill of her — ay, or if her name is linked with mine in any 
slighting manner, even by the breath of public rumor — I wil 
make her my wife if she will accept my hand, whatever youj 
wishes. And further, if any one speaks slightingly of her, I wil 
resent it as if she were my wife, so help me God!" 

He turned upon his heel, and strode out of the room. 

He had not once looked or spoken to the lady whose word; 
had given the offense. The mother and cousin were overwhelmec 
with astonishment at the intensity of the usually quiet am, 
complaisant Hesden. Miss Hetty soon made excuses for returnin[ 
to her home, and Mrs. Le Moyne waited in dull wonder for tb 
revelation which the evening was to bring. It seemed to her as i, 
the world had lost its bearings and everything must be afloai 
now that Hesden had been so transformed as to speak thu 
harshly to the mother for whom his devotion had becoin 
proverbial all the country around. 



48 • The Price of Honor 



'I When Hesden came to his mother's room that night, his 
'countenance wore an unusually sad and thoughtful expression. 
i^His mother had not yet recovered from the shock of the morn- 
ing's interview. The more she thought of it, the less she could 
' jnderstand either his language or his manner. That he would 
' Dnce think of allying himself in political thought with those who 
p.A^ere trying to degrade and humiliate their people by putting 
•chem upon a level with the negro, she did not for a moment 
relieve, despite what he had said. Neither did she imagine, even 
fchen, that he had any feeling for Mollie Ainslie other than mere 
"gratitude for the service she had rendered, but supposed that his 
outburst was owing merely to anger at the slighting language 
'nsed toward her by Cousin Hetty. Yet she felt a dim premonition 
■)f something dreadful about to happen, and was ill at ease 
'luring the evening meal. When it was over, the table cleared, 
nd the servant had retired, Hesden sat quiet for a long time, and 
hen said, slowly and tenderly: 

"Mother, I am very sorry that all these sad things should come 
• p at this time — so soon after our loss. I know your heart, as well 
' s mine, is sore, and I wish you to be sure that I have not, and 
f^iannot have, one unkind thought of you. Do not cry," he added. 
Is he saw the tears pouring down her face, which was turned to 
Aim with a look of helpless woe upon it — "do not cry, little 
lother, for we shall both of us have need of all our strength." 

- "Oh, Hesden," she moaned, "if you only would not — " 

- "Please do not interrupt me," he said, checking her with a 
lotion of his hand; "I have a long story to tell, and after that we 
ill speak of what now troubles you. But first, I wish to ask you 
)me questions. Did you ever hear of such a person as Edna 
dchards?" 

323 



324 Bricks Without Straw 

"Edna Richards — Edna Richards?" said Mrs. Le Moyne, wip- 
ing away her tears and speaking between her sobs. "It seems as if 
I had, but — I — I can't remember, my son. I am so weak and 
nervous," 

"Calm yourself, little mother; perhaps it will come to your 
mind if I ask you some other questions. Our grandfather, James 
Richards, came here from Pennsylvania, did he not?" 

"Certainly, from about Lancaster. He always promised to take 
me to see our relatives there, but he never did. You know, son, I 
was his youngest child, and he was well past fifty when I was 
born. So he was an old man when I was grown up, and could not 
travel very much. He took me to the North twice, but each time, 
before we got around to our Pennsylvania friends, he was so tired 
out that he had to come straight home." 

"Did you ever know anything about his family there?" 

"Not much — nothing except what he told me in his last days. 
He used to talk about them a great deal then, but there was! 
something that seemed to grieve and trouble him so much that I 
always did all I could to draw his mind away from the subject. 
Especially was this the case after the boys, your uncles, died. 
They led rough lives, and it hurt him terribly." 

"Do you know vv^hether he ever corresponded with any of our 
relatives at the North?" 

"I think not. I am sure he did not after I was grown. He often 
spoke of it, but I am afraid there was some family trouble or 
disagreement which kept him from doing so. I remember in his ^ 
last years he used frequently to speak of a cousin to whom he,|r 
seemed to have been very much attached. He had the same name 
as father, who used to call him "Red Jim.' " 

"Was he then alive?" 

"I suppose so — at least when father last heard from him. I 
think he lived in Massachusetts. Let me see, what was the name 
of the town. I don't remember," after a pause. 

"Was it Marblehead?" asked the son, with some eagerness. 



I 



The Price of Honor 325 

"That's it, dear — Marblehead. How funny that you should 
strike upon the very name?" 
; "You think he never wrote?" 

I' "Oh, I am sure not. He mourned about it, every now and then, 
'to the very last." 
[■ ""Was my grandfather a bachelor when he came here?" 

"Of course, and quite an old bachelor, too. I think he was 
ibout thirty when he married your grandmother in 1794." 
[I| "She was a Lomax — Margaret Lomax, I believe?" 
' "Yes; that's how we come to be akin to all the Lomax 
i:onnection. 
I "Just so. You are sure he had never married before?" 

"Sure? Why, yes, certainly. How could he? Why, Hesden, 
J^vhat do you mean? Why do you ask all these questions? You do 
lot — you cannot — Oh, Hesden!" she exclaimed, leaning forward 
tnd trembling with apprehension. 

i "Be calm, mother. I am not asking these questions without 
"food cause," he answered, very gravely. 

After a moment, when she had recovered herself a little, he 
^lontinued, holding toward her a slip of paper, as he asked: 
"Did you ever see that signature before?" 
His mother took the paper, and, having wiped her glasses, 
ijdjusted them carefully and glanced at the paper. As she did so a 
|ty burst from her lips, and she said, 

i* "Oh, Hesden, Hesden, where did you get it? Oh, dear! oh, 
ear!" 
"Why, mother, what is it?" cried Hesden in alarm, springing 
p and going quickly to her side. 

"That — that horrid thing, Hesden! Where did you get it? Do 
i)u know it was that which made that terrible quarrel between 
fimr grandfather and Uncle John, when he struck him that — that 
; st night, before John's body was found in the river. He was 
! :owned crossing the ford, you know. I don't know what it was 
} 1 about; but there was a terrible quarrel, and John wrote that 



326 Bricks Without Straw 

on a sheet of paper and held it before your grandfather's face and 
said something to him — I don't know what. I was only a little 
girl then, but, ah me! I remember it as if it was but yesterday. 
And then father struck him with his cane. John fell as if he were 
dead. I was looking in at the window, not thinking any harm, 
and saw it all. I thought he had killed John, and ran away, 
determined not to tell. I never breathed a lisp of it before, son, I 
and nobody ever knew of that quarrel, only your grandfather and 
me. I know it troubled him greatly after John died. Oh, I can see 
that awful paper, as John held it up to the light, as plain as this 
one in my hand now." 

The slip of paper which she held contained only the following 
apparently unintelligible scrawl: 




"And you never saw it but once?" asked Hesdenl 
thoughtfully. w 

"Never but once before to-night, dear." 1''' 

"It was not Uncle John's usual signature, then?" * 

"No, indeed. Is it a signature? She glanced curiously at tW 
paper while Hesden pointed out the letters. 

J JJiJJ jRa-T 

"That is what I take it to be, at least," he said. 

"Sure enough," said Mrs. Le Moyne, "and that might stand fc tta 
John Richards or James Richards. It might be Uncle John c iiyj 
your grandfather, either, child." 

"True, but grandfather always wrote his name plainly, 
Richards. I have seen a thousand of his signatures, I reckoi gij 
Besides, Uncle John was not alive in 1790." 

"Of course not. But what has that to do with the mattei 



ittOl 



The Price of Honor 327 

tWhat does it all mean anyhow? There must be some horrid 
isecret about it, I am sure." 

I "I do not know what it means, mother, but I am determined to 
nnd out. That is what I have been at all day, and I will not stop 
amtil I know all about it." 

I "But how did you come to find it? What makes you think 
pjihere is anything to be known about it?" 

\\ "This is the way it occurred, mother. The other day it became 

^Jiecessary to cut a door from the chamber over my room into the 

ii.ttic of the old kitchen, where I have been storing the tobacco. 

; fou know the part containing the dining-room was the original 

iiouse, and was at first built of hewed logs. It was, in fact, two 

lOuses, with a double chimney in the middle. Afterward, the two 

larts were made into one, the rude stairs torn away, and the 

/hole thing ceiled within and covered with thick pine siding 

mhout. In cutting through this, Charles found between two of 

'.le old logs and next to the chinking put in on each side to keep 

le wall flush and smooth, a pocketbook, carefully tied up in a 

iece of coarse linen, and containing a yellow, dingy paper, 

/hich, although creased and soiled, was still clearly legible. The 

.riting was of that heavy round character which marked the 

gal hand of the old time, and the ink, though its color had 

)mewhat changed by time, seemed to show by contrast with the 

ill hue of the page even more clearly than it could have done 

hen first written. The paper proved to be a will, drawn up in 

gal form and signed with the peculiar scrawl of which you hold 

I tracing. It purported to have been made and published in 

' ecember, 1789, at Lancaster, in the State of Pennsylvania, and 

have been witnessed by James Adiger and Johan Welliker of 

at town." 

"How very strange!" exclaimed Mrs. Le Moyne. "I suppose it 
ust have been the will of your grandfather's father." 
■ "That was what first occurred to me," answered Hesden, "but 
%\ closer inspection it proved to be the will of James Richards, as 



328 Bricks Without Straw 

stated in the caption, of Marblehead, in the State of Massachu- 
setts, giving and bequeathing all of his estate, both real and 
personal, after some slight bequests, to his beloved wife Edna, 
except — " 

"Stop, my son," said Mrs. Le Moyne, quickly, "I remember 
now. Edna was the name of the wife of father's cousin James — 
"Red Jim," he called him. It was about writing to her he was j 
always talking toward the last. So I suppose he must have been 
dead." 

"I had come to much the same conclusion," said Hesden, \ 
"though I never heard that grandfather had a cousin James until | 
to-night. I should never have thought any more of the document, i 
however, except as an old relic, if it had not gone on to bequeath 
particularly 'my estate in Carolina to my beloved daughter, Alice 
E., when she shall arrive at the age of eighteen years,' and to 
provide for the succession in case of her death prior to that 
time." 

"That is strange," said Mrs. Le Moyne. "I never knew that w© 
had any relatives in the State upon that side." 

"That is what I thought," said the son. "I wondered where the 
estate was which had belonged to this James Richards, who was 
not our ancestor, and, looking further, I found it described with 
considerable particularity. It was called Stillwater, and was said to 
be located on the waters of the Hyco, in Williams County." 

"But the Hyco is not in Williams County," said his listener. 

"No, mother, but it was then," he replied. "You know thal^ 
county has been many times subdivided." 

"Yes, I had forgotten that," she said. "But what then?" 

"It went on," continued Hesden, "to say that he held this lan(^ 
by virtue of a grant from the State which was recorded inj 
Registry of Deeds in Williams County, in Book A, page 391." 

"It is an easy matter to find where it was, then, I suppose," sai(^ 
the mother. 

"I have already done that," he replied, "and that is the strangq 
and unpleasant part of what I had to tell you." 



The Price of Honor 329 

^ "I do hope," she said, smiling, "that you have not made us out 
^(cousins of any low-down family." 

^ "As to that I cannot tell, mother; but I am afraid I have found 
(something discreditable in our own family history." 
\] "Oh, I hope not, Hesden," she said, plaintively. "It is so 
"unpleasant to look back upon one's ancestors and not feel that 
'they were strictly honorable. Don't tell me, please. I had rather 
not hear it." 

"I wish you might not," said he; "but the fact which you 
t' referred to to-day — that you are, under the will of my grand- 
■^ father, the owner of Mulberry Hill, makes it necessary that you 
'uhould." 

P "Please, Hesden, don't mention that. I was angry then. Please 
''i:orget it. What can that have to do with this horrid matter?" 

"It has this to do with it, mother," he replied. "The boundaries 

'■'')f that grant, as shown by the record, are identical with the 

' ecord of the grant under which our grandfather claimed the 

^•state of which this is a part, and which is one of the first entered 

ipon the records of Horsford County." 

' "What do you say, Hesden? I don't understand you," said his 
^Qother, anxiously. 

"Simply that the land bequeathed in this will of J. Richards, is 
I pie same as that afterward claimed and held by my grandfather, 
ames Richards, and in part now belonging to you." 

"It cannot be, Hesden, it cannot be! There must be some 
raistake!" she exclaimed, impatiently. 
"I wish there were," he answered, "but I fear there is not. The 
ill names as executor, 'my beloved cousin James Richards, of 
l^ie borough of Lancaster, in the State of Pennsylvania,' I pre- 
jnme this to have been my grandfather. I have had the records of 
j Dth counties searched and find no record of any administration 
f'oon this will." 

I "You do not think a Richards could have been so dishonorable 
to rob his cousin's orphans?" 
"Alas! mother, I only know that we have always claimed title 



330 Bricks Without Straw 

under that very grant. The grant itself is among your papers in 
my desk, and is dated in 1789. I have always understood that 
grandfather married soon after coming here." 

"Oh, yes, dear," was the reply, "I have heard mother tell of it a 
hundred times." 

"And that was in 1794?" 

"Yes, yes; but he might have been here before, child." 

"That is true, and I hope it may all turn out to have been only 
a strange mistake." 

"But if it does not, Hesden?" said his mother, after a moment's 
thought. "What do you mean to do?" 

"I mean first to go to the bottom of this matter and discover 
the truth." ; 

"And then — if — if there was — anything wrong?" ! 

"Then the wrong must be righted." j 

"But that — why, Hesden, it might turn us out of doors! It ij 
might make us beggars! " 

"We should at least be honest ones." i 

"But Hesden, think of me — think — " she began. 

"So I will, little mother, of you and for you till the last hour of 
your life or of mine. But mother, I would rather you should leave 
all and suffer all, and that we should both die of starvation, than 
that we should live bounteously on the fruit of another's wrong." I 
He bent over her and kissed her tenderly again and again. 
"Never fear, mother," he said, "we may lose all else by the acts of: 
others, but we can only lose honor by our own. I would give my 
life for you or to save your honor." 

She looked proudly upon him, and reached up her thin white I 
hand to caress his face, as she said with overflowing eyes: 

"You are right, my son! If others of our name have donel 
wrong, there is all the more need that we should do right andi 
atone for it." 



i 



49 ' Highly Resolved 



Mollie Ainslie had made all her preparations to leave Red 
Wing. She had investigated the grounds of the suit brought by 
Winburn against Nimbus and others. Indeed, she found herself 
|named among the "others," as well as all those who had pur- 
chased from Nimbus or were living on the tract by virtue of 
8 license from him. Captain Pardee had soon informed her that the 
; :itle of Nimbus was, in fact, only a life-estate, which had fallen 
bn by the death of the life tenant, while Winburn claimed to have 
'bought up the interests of the reversioners. He intimated that it 
ivas possible that Winburn had done this while acting as the 
•jigent of Colonel Desmit, but this was probably not susceptible 
J)f proof, on account of the death of Desmit. He only stated it as 
' . conjecture at best. 

At the same time, he informed her that the small tract about 

(he old ordinary, which had come to Nimbus by purchase, and 

b/hich was all that she occupied, was not included in the life-es- 

ate, but was held in fee by Walter Greer. She had therefore 

istructed him to defend for her upon Nimbus's title, more for 

'ijbe sake of asserting his right than on account of the value of the 

tfcremises. The suit was for possession and damages for detention 

md injury of the property, and an attachment had been taken 

mt against Nimbus's property, on the claim for damages, as a 

on- resident debtor. As there seemed to be no good ground for 

'efense on the part of those who had purchased under Nimbus, 

le attorney advised that resistance to the suit would be useless, 

iiihus they lost at once the labor of their whole life of freedom, 

iiid were compelled to begin again where slavery had left them. 

jhis, taken in connection with the burning of the church, the 

eaking up of the school, and the absence of Eliab and Nimbus, 

id made the once happy and busy little village most desolate 

d forlorn. 



! I' 



331 



332 Bricks Without Straw 

The days which Mollie AinsHe had passed in the old hostel 
since she left Mulberry Hill had been days of sorrow. Tears and 
moans and tales of anxious fear had been in her ears continually. 
All over the county, the process of "redemption" was being 
carried on. The very air was full of horrors. Men with bleeding 
backs, women with scarred and mutilated forms, came to her to 
seek advice and consolation. Night after night, devoted men, 
who did not dare to sleep in their own homes, kept watch around 
her, in order that her slumbers might be undisturbed. It seemed 
as if all law had been forgotten, and only a secret Klan had 
power in the land. She did not dare, brave as she was, to ride 
alone outside of the little village. She did not really think she 
would be harmed, yet she trembled when the night came, and 
every crackling twig sent her heart into her mouth in fear lest 
the chivalric masqueraders should come to fulfil their vague 
threats against herself. But her heart bled for the people she had 
served, and whom she saw bowed down under the burden of a 
terrible, haunting fear. 

If she failed to make due allowance for that savageness of 
nature which generations of slavery are sure to beget in the 
master, let us not blame her. She was only a woman, and saw 
only what was before her. She did not see how the past injected 
itself into the present, and gave it tone and color. She reasoned 
only from what met her sight. It is not strange that she felt 
bitterly toward those who had committed such seemingly vandal 
acts. No wonder she spoke bitterly, wrote hard things to her 
Northern friends, and denied the civilization and Christianity of 
those who could harry, oppress, and destroy the poor, the igno- 
rant, and the weak. It is not surprising that she sneered at the 
"Southern Gentleman," or that she wrote him down in very 
black characters in the book and volume of her memory. She was 
not a philosopher nor a politician, and she had never speculated 
on the question as to how near of kin virtue and vice may be. She 
had never considered how narrow a space it is that very often 



Highly Resolved 333 

divides the hero from the criminal, the patriot from the assassin, 
the gentleman from the ruffian, the Christian saint from the 
red-handed savage. Her heart was hot with wrath and her tongue 
was tipped with bitterness. 

For the first time she blushed at the thought of her native 
land. That the great, free, unmatched Republic should permit 
these things, should shut its eyes and turn its back upon its 
helpless allies in their hour of peril, was a most astounding and 
benumbing fact to her mind. What she had loved with all that 
tenacity of devotion which every Northern heart has for the flag 
and the country, was covered with ignominy by these late events. 
She blushed with shame as she thought of the weak, vacillating 
nation which had given the promise of freedom to the ears of 
four millions of weak but trustful allies, and broken it to their 
hearts. She knew that the country had appealed to them in its 
; hour of mortal agony, and they had answered with their blood. 
She knew that again it had appealed to them for aid to write the 
golden words of Freedom in its Constitution, words before un- 
written, in order that they might not be continued in slavery, and 
they had heard and answered by their votes; and then, while the 
world still echoed with boastings of these achievements, it had 
; taken away the protecting hand and said to those whose hearts 
p were full of hate, "Stay not thine hand." 

She thought, too, that the men who did these things — the 
'] midnight masqueraders — were rebels still in their hearts. She 
called them so in hers at least — enemies of the country, striving 
1 dishonorably to subvert its laws. She did not keep in mind that to 
every Southern man and woman, save those whom the national 
■ • act brought forth to civil life, the Nation is a thing remote and 
fi secondary. To them the State is first, and always so far first as to 
'■'■' make the country a dim, distant cloud, to be watched with 
r suspicion or aversion as a something hostile to their State or 
; section. The Northern mind thinks of the Nation first. The love 
pi of country centers there. His pride in his native State is as a part 



334 Bricks Without Straw 

of the whole. As a Northerner, he has no feeling at all. He never 
speaks of his section except awkwardly, and when reference to it 
is made absolutely necessary by circumstances. He may be from 
the East or the West or the Middle, from Maine or Minnesota, 
but he is first of all things an American. Mollie thought that the 
result of the war — defeat and destruction — ought to have made 
the white people of the South just such Americans. In fact it 
never occurred to her simple heart but that they had always been 
such. In truth, she did not conceive that they could have been 
otherwise. She had never dreamed that there were any Americans 
with whom it was not the first and ever-present thought that they 
were Americans. 

She might have known, if she had thought so far, that in that 
mystically-bounded region known as "the South," the people 
were first of all "Southerners;" next "Georgians," or "Virgin- 
ians," or whatever it might be; and last and lowest in the scale of 
political being, "Americans." She might have known this had she 
but noted how the word "Southern" leaps into prominence as 
soon as the old "Mason and Dixon's line" is crossed. There are 
"Southern" hotels and "Southern" railroads, "Southern" steam- 
boats, "Southern" state-coaches, "Southern" express companies, 
"Southern" books, "Southern" newspapers, "Southern" patent- 
medicines, "Southern" churches, "Southern" manners, "Southern" 
gentlemen, "Southern" ladies, "Southern" restaurants, "Southern" 
bar-rooms, "Southern" whisky, "Southern" gambling- hells, 
"Southern" principles, "Southern" everything! Big or little, good ' 
or bad, everything that courts popularity, patronage or applause, 
makes haste to brand itself as distinctively and especially 
"Southern." 

Then she might have remembered that in all the North — the' 
great, busy, bustling, over-confident, giantly Greatheart of the' 
continent — there is not to be found a single "Northern" hotel, i 
steamer, railway, stage-coach, bar-room, restaurant, school, uni- 
versity, school-book, or any other "Northern" institution. The! 






Highly Resolved 335 

word "Northern" is no master-key to patronage or approval. 
There is no "Northern" clannishness, and no distinctive "North- 
ern" sentiment that prides itself on being such. The "Northern" 
man may be "Eastern" or "Western." He may be "Knicker- 
bocker," "Pennamite," "Buckeye," or "Hoosier;" but above all 
things, and first of all things in his allegiance and his citizenship, 
he is an American. The "Southern" man is proud of the Nation 
chiefly because it contains his section and State; the "Northern" 
man is proud of his section and State chiefly because it is a part 
of the Nation. 

But Mollie Ainslie did not stop to think of these differences, or 

of the bias which habit gives to the noblest mind; and so her 

heart was full of wrath and much bitterness. She had forgiven 

coldness, neglect, and aspersion of herself, but she could not 

forgive brutality and violence toward the weak and helpless. She 

saw the futility of hope of aid from the Nation that had deserted 

its allies. She felt, on the other hand, the folly of expecting any 

change in a people steeped in intolerance and gloating in the 

triumph of lawless violence over obnoxious law. She thought she 

saw that there was but little hope for that people for whom she 

! had toiled so faithfully to grow to the full stature of the free man 

in the region where they had been slaves. She was short-sighted 

iiand impatient, but she was earnest and intense. She had done 

; much thinking in the sorrowful days just past, and had made up 

her mind that whatsoever others might do, she, Mollie Ainslie, 

(Would do her duty. 

ij The path seemed plain to her. She had been, as it seemed to 
|i(her, mysteriously led, step by step, along the way of life, always 
with blindfolded eyes and feet that sought not to go in the way 
-ithey were constrained to take. Her father and mother dead, her 
•i brother's illness brought her to the South; there his wish detained 
^her; a seeming chance brought her to Red Wing; duties and 
'j( cares had multiplied with her capacity; the cup of love, after one 
ri sweet draught, had been dashed from her lips; desolation and 



336 Bricks Without Straw 

destruction had come upon the scene of her labors, impoverish- 
ment and woe upon those with whom she had been associated, 
and a hopeless fate upon all the race to which they belonged in 
the land wherein they were born. 

She did not propose to change these things. She did not aspire 
to set on foot any great movement or do any great deed, but she 
felt that she was able to succor a few of the oppressed race. 
Those who most needed help and best deserved it, among the 
denizens of Red Wing, she determined to aid in going to a region 
where thought at least was free. It seemed to her altogether 
providential that at this time she had still, altogether untouched, 
the few thousands which Oscar had given her of his army 
earnings, and also the little homestead on the Massachusetts hills, 
toward which a little town had been rapidly growing during the 
years of unwonted prosperity succeeding the war, until now its 
Value was greatly increased from what it was but a few years 
before. She found she was quite an heiress when she came to take 
an inventory of her estate, and made up her mind that she would 
use this estate to carry out her new idea. She did not yet know the 
how or the where, but she had got it into her simple brain that 
somewhere and somehow this money might be invested so as to 
afford a harbor of refuge for these poor colored people, and still 
not leave herself unprovided for. She had not arranged the 
method, but she had fully determined on the undertaking. 

This was the thought of Mollie Ainslie as she sat in her room 
at the old ordinary, one afternoon, nearly two weeks after her 
departure from the Le Moyne mansion. She had quite given up 
all thought of seeing Hesden again. She did not rave or moan 
over her disappointment. It had been a sharp and bitter experi- 
ence when she waked out of the one sweet dream of her life. She 
saw that it ti^as but a dream, foolish and wild; but she had no 
idea of dying of a broken heart. Indeed, she did not know that 
her heart was broken. She had loved a man whom she had 
fancied as brave and gentle as she could desire her other self to 



Highly Resolved 337 

be. She had neither proffered her love to him nor concealed it. 
' She was not ashamed that she loved nor ashamed that he should 
; know it, as she believed he did. She thought he must have known 
I it, even though she did not herself realize it at the time. If he had 
been that ideal man whom she loved, he would have come 
before, claimed her love, and declared his own. That man could 
never have let her go alone into desolation and danger without 
, following at once to inquire after her. It was not that she needed 
I his protection, but she had desired — nay, expected as a certainty 
: — that he would come and proffer it. The ideal of her love would 
J have done so. If Hesden Le Moyne had come then, she would 
rhave given her life into his keeping forever after, without the 
,:reservation of a thought. That he did not come only showed that 
»fhe was not her ideal, not the one she had loved, but only the dim 
(Ilikeness of that one. It was so much the worse for Mr. Hesden Le 
;;lMoyne, but none the worse for Mollie Ainslie. She still loved her 
i^'ideal, but knew now that it was only an ideal. 
|l Thus she mused, although less explicitly, as the autumn after- 
ftioon drew to its close. She watched the sun sinking to his rest, 
d and reflected that she would see him set but once more over the 
t-Dines that skirted Red Wing. There was but little more to be 
lidone — a few things to pack up, a few sad farewells to be said, 
piind then she would turn her face towards the new life she had 
I'Kether heart upon. 

p There was a step upon the path. She heard her own name 
i(poken and heard the reply of the colored woman, who was 
ijtitting on the porch. Her heart stopped beating as the footsteps 
Jlpproached her door. She thought her face flushed burning red, 
|ij»ut in reality it was of a hard, pallid gray as she looked up and 
(^aw Hesden Le Moyne standing in the doorway. 

I 



50 • Face Answereth to Face 



"How do you do, Miss Mollie?" 

She caught her breath as she heard his ringing tone and noted 
his expectant air. Oh, if he had only come before! If he had not 
left her to face alone — he knew not what peril! But he had done 
so, and she could not forget it. So she went forward, and, extend- 
ing her hand, took his without a throb as she said, demurely, 

"I am very well, Mr. Le Moyne. How are you, and how have 
you left all at home?" 

She led the way back to the table and pointed to a chair 
opposite her own as she spoke. 

Hesden Le Moyne had grown to love Mollie Ainslie almost as 
unconsciously as she had given her heart to him. The loss of his 
son had been a sore affliction. While he had known no passionate 
love for his cousin-wife, he yet had had the utmost respect for "| 
her, and had never dreamed that there were in his heart deeper | 
depths of love still unexplored. After her death, his mother and j 
his child seemed easily and naturally to fill his heart. He had 
admired Mollie Ainslie from the first. His attention had been 
first particularly directed to her accomplishments and attractions 
by the casual conversation with Pardee in reference to her, and 
by the fact that the horse she rode was his old favorite. He had 
watched her at first critically, then admiringly, and finally with 
an unconscious yearning which he did not define. 

The incident of the storm and the bright picture she made in 
his somewhat sombre home had opened his eyes as to his real 
feelings. At the same time had come the knowledge that there j 
was a wide gulf between them, but he would have bridged it! 
long before now had it not been for his affliction, which, while it i 
drew him nearer to the object of his devotion than he had ever 

338 



Face Answereth to Face 339 

: been before, also raised an imperative barrier against words of 
1 love. Then the time of trial came. He found himself likely to be 
i stripped of all hope of wealth, and he had been goaded into 
: declaring to others his love for Mollie, although he had never 
f whispered a word of it to her. Since that time, however, despite 
\ his somewhat dismal prospects, he had allowed his fancy greater 
play. He had permitted himself to dream that some time and 
'" somehow he might be permitted to call Mollie Ainslie his wife. 
' She seemed so near to him! There was such a calm in her 
presence! 

He had never doubted that his passion was reciprocated. He 
[thought that he had looked down into her heart through the soft, 
■;:gray eyes, and seen himself. She had never manifested any con- 
csciousness of love, but in those dear days at the Hill she had 
-seemed to come so close to him that he thought of her love as a 
i matter of course, as much so as if it had been already plighted. 
SiHe felt too that her instinct had been as keen as his own, and 
^that she must have discovered the love he had taken no pains to 
-conceal. But the events which had occurred since she went to Red 
piWing had to his mind forbidden any further expression of this 
^feeling. For her sake as well as for his own honor it must be put 
3^aside. He had no wish to conceal or deny it. The fact that he 
jtaust give her up was the hardest element of the sacrifice which 
^the newly discovered will might require at his hands. 
?! So he had come to tell her all, and he hoped that she would 
Psee where honor led him, and would hold him excused from 

;;aying, "I love you. Will you be my wife?" He believed that she 
Would, and that they would part without distrust and with 
'^unabated esteem for each other. Never, until this moment, had 
^le thought otherwise. Perhaps he was not without hope still, but 
It was not such as could be allowed to control his action. He 

•ould not say now why it was; he could not tell what was 
lacking, but somehow there seemed to have been a change. She 



340 Bricks Without Straw 

was so far away — so intangible. It was the same lithe form, the 
same bright face, the same pleasant voice; but the life, the soul, 
seemed to have gone out of the familiar presence. 

He sat and watched her keenly, wonderingly, as they chatted 
for a moment of his mother. Then he said: 

"We have had strange happenings at Mulberry Hill since you 
left us, Miss Mollie." 

"You don't tell me!" she said laughingly. "I cannot conceive 
such a thing possible. Dear me! How strange to think of any- 
thing out of the common happening there!" 

The tone and the laugh hurt him. 

"Indeed," said he, gravely, "except for that I should have made 
my appearance here long ago." 

"You are very kind. And I assure you, I am grateful that you 
did not entirely forget me." Her tone was mocking, but her look 
was so guileless as almost to make him disbelieve his ears. 

"I assure you, Miss Mollie," said he, earnestly, "you do me 
injustice. I was so closely engaged that I was not even aware of 
your departure until the second day afterward." 

He meant this to show how serious were the matters which 
claimed his attention. To him it was the strongest possible proof 
of their urgency. But she remembered her exultant ride to Red 
Wing, and said to herself, "And he did not think of me for two 
whole days!" As she listened to his voice, her heart had been 
growing soft despite her; but it was hard enough now. So she 
smiled artlessly, and said: 

"Only two days? Why, Mr. Le Moyne, I thought it was two 
weeks. That was how I excused you. Charles said you were too 
busy to ride with me; your mother wrote that you were too busy 
to ask after me; and I supposed you had been too busy to think 
of me, ever since." 

"Now, Miss Mollie," said he, in a tone of earnest remon- 
strance, "please do not speak in that way. Things of the utmost 



Face Answereth to Face 341 

importance have occurred, and I came over this evening to tell 
you of them. You, perhaps, think that I have been neglectful." 
"I had no right to demand anything from Mr. Le Moyne." 
"Yes, you had, Miss Ainslie," said he, rising and going around 
'the table until he stood close beside her. "You know that only 
the most pressing necessity could excuse me for allowing you to 
leave my house unattended." 

j "That is the way I went there," she interrupted, as she looked 
'up at him, laughing saucily. 

"But that was before you had, at my request, risked your life in 
behalf of my child. Let us not hide the truth, Miss Ainslie. We 
^:an never go back to the relation of mere acquaintanceship we 
neld before that night. If you had gone away the next morning it 
might have been different, but every hour afterward increased 
my obligations to you. I came here to tell you why I had seemed 
:o neglect them. Will you allow me to do so?" 
i, "It is quite needless, because there is no obligation — none in 
i|(he least — unless it be to you for generous hospitality and care 
j iind a pleasant respite from tedious duty." 

b "Why do you say that? You cannot think it is so," he said, 
impetuously. "You know it was my duty to have attended you 
dither, to have offered my services in that trying time, and by my 
uresence and counsel saved you such annoyance as I might. You 
now that I could not have been unaware of this duty, and you 
lare not deny that you expected me to follow you very speedily 
iter your departure." 

"Mr. Le Moyne," she said, rising, with flushed cheeks and 
cashing eyes, "you have no right to address such language to me! 
.;: was bad enough to leave me to face danger and trouble and 
!,!Orror alone; but not so bad as to come here and say such things, 
ut I am not ashamed to let you know that you are right. I did 
jcpect you, Hesden Le Moyne. As I came along the road and 
^Jiought of the terrors which the night might bring, I said to 



342 Bricks Without Straw 

myself that before the sun went down you would be here, and 
would counsel and protect the girl who had not shrunk from 
danger when you asked her to face it, and who had come to look 
upon you as the type of chivalry. Because I thought you better 
and braver and nobler than you are, I am not ashamed to confess 
what I expected. I know it was foolish. I might have known 
better. I might have known that the man who would fight for a 
cause he hated rather than be sneered at by his neighbors, would 
not care to face public scorn for the sake of a 'nigger-teacher' — 
no matter what his obligations to her." 

She stood before him with quivering nostrils and flashing eyes 
He staggered back, raising his hand to check the torrent of her 
wrath. 

"Don't, Miss Ainslie, don't!" he said, in confused surprise 

"Oh, yes!" she continued bitterly, "you no doubt feel very 
much surprised that a 'Yankee nigger-teacher' should dare to 
resent such conduct. You thought you could come to me, now 
that the danger and excitement have subsided, and resume the 
relations we held before. I know you and despise you, Hesden Le 
Moyne! I have more respect for one of those who made Red 
Wing a scene of horror and destruction than for you. Is that 
enough, sir? Do you understand me now?" 

"Oh, entirely. Miss Ainslie," said Hesden, in a quick, huskyi 
tone, taking his hat from the table as he spoke. "But in justice to 
myself I must be allowed to state some facts which, thoughi 
perhaps not sufl&cient, in your opinion, to justify my conduct, will 
I hope show vou that you have misjudged me in part. Will you' 
hear me?" 

"Oh, yes, I will hear anything," she said, as she sat down 
"Though nothing can be said that will restore the past." 

"Unfortunately, I am aware of that. There is one thing, how 
ever, that I prize even more than that, and that is my honor. Dc 
not take the trouble to sneer. Say, what I call my honor, if i 



Face Answereth to Face 343 

i pleases you better, and I will not leave a stain upon that, even in 
i your mind, if I can help it." 

i "Yes, I hear," she said, as he paused a moment. "Your honor, I 
'> believe you said." 

? "Yes, Miss Ainslie," he replied with dignity; "my honor re- 
^^ quires that I should say to you now what I had felt forbidden to 
tsay before — that, however exalted the opinion you may have 
i formed of me, it could not have equalled that which I cherished 
-ifor you — not for what you did, but for what you were — and this 
feeling, whatever you may think, is still unchanged." 
i Mollie started with amazement. Her face, which had been 
r pale, was all aflame as she glanced up at Hesden with a fright- 
ened look, while he went on. 

"I do not believe that you would intentionally be unjust. So, if 
;you will permit me, I will ask you one question. If you knew that 
3Dn the day of your deparmre, and for several succeeding days, a 
*ibuman life was absolutely dependent upon my care and watch- 
3'jfulness, would you consider me excusable for failure to learn of 
v/our unannounced departure, or for not immediately following 
'/ou hither on learning that fact?" He paused, evidently expect- 
tng a reply. 

"Surely, Mr. Le Moyne," she said, looking up at him in 
ivide-eyed wonder, "you know I would." 

"And would you believe my word if I assured you that this 
^as the fact?" 

"Of course I would." 
"I am very glad. Such was the case; and that alone prevented 
py following you and insisting on your immediate return." 

"I did not know your mother had been so ill," she said, with 

tome contrition in her voice. 

"It was not my mother. I am sorry, but I cannot tell you now 

ilKvho it was. You will know all about it some time. And more 

i: jiian that," he continued, "on the fourth day after you had gone. 



344 Bricks Without Straw 

one who had saved my hfe in battle came and asked me to 
acknowledge my debt by performing an important service for 
him, which has required nearly all my time since that." 

"Oh, Mr. Le Moyne!" she said, as the tears came into her eyes, 
"please forgive my anger and injustice." 

"I have nothing to forgive," he said. "You were not unjust — 
only ignorant of the facts, and your anger was but natural." 

"Yet I should have known better. I should have trusted you ! 
more," said she, sobbing. 

"Well, do not mind it," he said, soothingly. "But if my explan- 
ation is thus far sufficient, will you allow me to sit down while I 
tell you the rest? The story is a somewhat long one." 

"Oh, pray do, Mr. Le Moyne. Excuse my rudeness as well as 
my anger. Please be seated and let me take your hat." 

She took the hat and laid it on a table at the side of the room, | 
and then returned and listened to his story. He told her all that 
he had told his mother the night before, explaining such things 
as he thought she might not fully understand. Then he showed 
her the pocket-book and the will, which he had brought with 
him for that purpose. 

At first she listened to what he said with a constrained and i 
embarrassed air. He had not proceeded far, however, before she 
began to manifest a lively interest in his words. She leaned 
forward and gazed into his face with an absorbed earnestness that 
awakened his surprise. Two or three times she reached out her 
hand, and her lips moved, as though she would interrupt him. 
He stopped; but, without speaking, she nodded for him to go on. 
When he handed her the pocket-book and the will, she took 
them with a trembling hand and examined them with the utmost' 
care. The student-lamp had been lighted before his story was 
ended. Her face was in the soft light which came through the' 
porcelain shade, but her hands were in the circle of bright light 
that escaped beneath it. He noticed that they trembled so that 
they could scarcely hold the paper she was trying to read. He 



« 



I 



Face Answereth to Face 345 

asked if he should not read it for her. She handed him the will, 
ibut kept the pocketbook tightly clasped in both hands, with the 
imde scrawl, 




MARBLEHEAD, MASS., 

in full view. She listened nervously to the reading, never once 
looking up. When he had finished, she said, 

"And you say the land mentioned there is the plantation you 



[low occupy?" 

"It embraces my mother's plantation and much more. Indeed, 
j-his very plantation of Red Wing, except the little tract around 
ihe house here, is a part of it. The Red Wing Ordinary tract is 
pioentioned as one of those which adjoins it upon the west. This is 
jjihe west line, and the house at Mulberry Hill is very near the 
jjisastern edge. It is a narrow tract, running down on this side the 
i^viver until it comes to the big bend near the ford, which it 
Lcrosses, and keeps on to the eastward. 

! "It is a large belt, though I do not suppose it was then of any 
jfreat value — perhaps not worth more than a shilling an acre. It 
(5 almost impossible to realize how cheap land was in this region 
^t that time. A man of moderate wealth might have secured al- 
biost a county. Especially was that the case with men who bought 
^ p what was termed "Land Scrip" at depreciated rates, and then 
Ltntered lands and paid for them with it at par." 
j( "Was that the way this was bought?" she asked. 
!-' "I cannot tell," he replied. "I immediately employed Mr. 
-lardee to look the matter up, and it seems from the records that 
l;i entry had been made some time before, by one Paul Cresson, 
fhich was by him assigned to James Richards. I am inclined to 
link that it was a part of the Crown grant to Lord Granville, 
It'hich had not been alienated before the Revolution, and of 
hich the State claimed the fee afterward by reason of his 



346 Bricks Without Straw 

adhesion to the Crown. The question of the right of such alien 
enemies to hold under Crown grants was not then determined, 
and I suppose the lands were rated very low by reason of this 
uncertainty in the title." 

"Do you think — that — that this will is genuine?" she asked, 
with her white fingers knotted about the brown old pocket- 
book. 

"I have no doubt about its proving to be genuine. That is 
evident upon its face. I hope there may be something to show | 
that my grandfather did not act dishonorably," he replied. ? 

"But suppose — suppose there should not be; what would be 
the effect?" 

"Legally, Mr. Pardee says, there is little chance that any valid " 
claim can be set up under it. The probabilities are, he says, that 
the lapse of time will bar any such claim. He also says that it is 
quite possible that the devisee may have died before coming of 
age to take under the will, and the widow, also, before that time; 
in which case, under the terms of the will, it would have fallen to 1 ; 
my grandfather." 

"You are not likely to lose by it then, in any event?" 

"If it should prove that there are living heirs whose claims are ; 
not barred by time, then, of course, they will hold, not only our J t 
plantation, but also the whole tract. In that case, I shall make it i il 
the business of my life to acquire enough to reimburse those who 1 
have purchased of my grandfather, and who will lose by this H 
discovery." ' ■: 

"But you are not bound to do that?" she asked, in surprise. ' 

"Not legally. Neither are we bound to give up the plantation 1 jn 
if the heir is legally estopped. But I think, and my mother agrees } 
with me, that if heirs are found who cannot recover the land by T 
reason of the lapse of time, even then, honor requires the surren- 1 ;;!)( 
der of what we hold." ii 

"And you would give up your home?" n ;; 



Face Answereth to Face 347 

"I should gladly do so, if I might thereby right a wrong 
committed by an ancestor." 
i "But your mother, Hesden, what of her?" 
i "She would rather die than do a dishonorable thing." 
I "Yes — ^yes; but — you know — " 

\ "Yes, I know that she is old and an invalid, and that I am 
liroung and — and unfortunate; but I will find a way to maintain 
ptier without keeping what we had never any right to hold." 
|J "You have never known the hardship of self-support!" she 
jiaid. 

m "I shall soon learn," he answered, with a shrug. 
I She sprang up and walked quickly across the room. Her hands 
:ivete clasped in front of her, the backs upward and the nails 
;ii.igging into the white flesh. Hesden wondered a little at her 
excitement. 

"Thank God! thank God!" she exclaimed at last, as she sank 
gain into her chair, and pressed her clasped hands over her 
:yes. 

"Why do you say that?" he asked, curiously. 
"Because you — because I — I hardly know," she stammered. 
I She looked at him a moment, her face flushing and paling by 
larns, and stretching our her hand to him suddenly across the 
itible, she said, looking him squarely in the face: 
i "Hesden Le Moyne, you are a brave man!" 
i He took the hand in his own and pressed it to his lips, which 
embled as they touched it. 

' "Miss MoUie," he said, tenderly, "will you forgive my not 
7)ming before?" 

' "If you will pardon my lack of faith in you." 
c "You see," he said, "that my duty for the present is to my 
j other and the name I bear." 

"And mine," she answered, "is to the poor people whose 
I congs I have witnessed." 






348 Bricks Without Straw 

"What do you mean?" he asked. 

"I mean that I will give myself to the task of finding a refuge 
for those who have suffered such terrible evils as we have 
witnessed here at Red Wing." 

"You will leave here, then?" 

"In a day or two." 

"To return — when?" 

"Never." 

Their hands were still clasped across the narrow table. He 
looked into her eyes, and saw only calm, unflinching resolution. 
It piqued his self-love that she should be so unmoved. Warmly as 
he really loved her, self-sacrificing as he felt himself to be in 
giving her up, he could not yet rid himself of the thought of her 
Northern birth, and felt annoyed that she should excel him in 
the gentle quality of self-control. He had no idea that he would 
ever meet her again. He had made up his mind to leave her out 
of his life forever, though he could not cast her out of his heart. 
And yet, although he had no right to expect it, he somehow felt 
disappointed that she showed no more regret. He had not quite 
looked for her to be so calm, and he was almost annoyed by it; so 
dropping her hand, he said, weakly, 

"Shall I never see you again?" 

"Perhaps" — quietly. 

"When?" 

"When you are willing to acknowledge yourself proud of me' 
because of the work in which I have been engaged! Hesden Le 
Moyne," she continued, rising, and standing before him, "you are 
a brave man and a proud one. You are so brave that you wou 
not hesitate to acknowledge your regard for me, despite the fad 
that I am a "nigger-teacher.' It is a noble act, and I honor you foi 
it. But I am as proud as you, and have good reason to be, as you 
will know some day; and I say to you that I would not prize any^ 
man's esteem which coupled itself with an apology for the work 
in which I have been engaged. I count that work my highesi 



i 



How Sleep the Brave? 349 

honor, and am more jealous of its renown than of even my own 
good name. When you can say to me, "I am as proud of your 
' vork as of my own honor — so proud that I wish it to be known 
'l)f all men, and that all men should know that I approve,' then 
'ou may come to me. Till then, farewell!" 

She held out her hand. He pressed it an instant, took his hat 
rom the table, and went out into the night, dazed and blinded by 
he brightness he had left behind. 
1 



] 



5 1 • How Sleep the Brave? 



I, 

^' Two days afterward, Mollie Ainslie took the train for the 
iVorth, accompanied by Lugena and her children. At the same 
me went Captain Pardee, under instructions from Hesden Le 
ioyne to verify the will, discover who the testator really was, 
id then ascertain whether he had any living heirs. 
"To Mollie Ainslie the departure was a sad farewell to a life 
lich she had entered upon so full of abounding hope and 
iiarity, so full of love for God and man, that she could not 
ilieve that all her bright hopes had withered and only ashes 
mained. The way was dark. The path was hedged up. The 
luth was "redeemed." 

-'The poor, ignorant white man had been unable to perceive 

It liberty for the slave meant elevation to him also. The poor, 

lorant colored man had shown himself, as might well have 

I'm anticipated, unable to cope with intelligence, wealth, and 

1 ! subtle power of the best trained political intellects of the 



350 Bricks Without Straw 

nation; and it was not strange. They were all alone, and their 
allies were either as poor and weak as themselves, or were 
handicapped with the brand of Northern birth. These were their 
allies — not from choice, but from necessity. Few, indeed, were 
there of the highest and the best of those who had fought the 
nation in war as they had fought against the tide of liberty before 
the war began — who would accept the terms on which the nation 
gave re-established and greatly-increased power to the States of 
the South. 

So there were ignorance and poverty and a hated race upon 
one side, and, upon the other, intelligence, wealth, and pride. The 
former outnumbered the latter; but the latter, as compared with 
the former, were a Grecian phalanx matched against a scattered 
horde of Scythian bowmen. The Nation gave the jewel of liberty 
into the hands of the former, armed them with the weapons of 
self-government, and said: "Ye are many; protect what ye have 
received." Then it took away its hand, turned away its eyes, 
closed its ears to every cry of protest or of agony, and said: "We 
will not aid you nor protect you. Though you are ignorant, from 
you will we demand the works of wisdom. Though you are weak, 
great things shall be required at your hands." Like the ancient 
taskmaster, the Nation said: "There shall no straw he given you, 
yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks." 

But, alas! they were weak and inept. The weapon they hadi 
received was two-edged. Sometimes they cut themselves; again' 
they caught it by the blade, and those with whom they fought 
seized the hilt and made terrible slaughter. Then, too, they were ' 
not always wise — which was a sore fault, but not their own. Nor I 
were they always brave, or true — which was another grievous! 
fault; but was it to be believed that one hour of liberty would 
efface the scars of generations of slavery? Ah! well might they I 
cry unto the Nation, as did Israel unto Pharaoh: "There is noj 
straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, 'Make brick': I 
and behold thy servants are beaten; but the fault is in thine own I 



How Sleep the Brave? 351 

people." They had simply demonstrated that in the years of 
Grace of the nineteenth century liberty could not be maintained 
nor prosperity achieved by ignorance and poverty, any more than 
in the days of Moses adobe bricks could be made without straw. 
The Nation gave the power of the South into the hands of 
ignorance and poverty and inexperience, and then demanded of 
them the fruit of intelligence, the strength of riches, and the skill 
of experience. It put before a keen-eyed and unscrupulous minor- 
ity — a minority proud, aggressive, turbulent, arrogant, and scorn- 
ful of all things save their own will and pleasure — the tempta- 
tion to enhance their power by seizing that held by the trembling 
hands of simple-minded and unskilled guardians. What wonder 
; that it was ravished from their care? 

Mollie Ainslie thought of these things with some bitterness. 
' She did not doubt the outcome. Her faith in truth and liberty, 
1 and her proud confidence in the ultimate destiny of the grand 
I Nation whose past she had worshiped from childhood, were too 
: strong to permit that. She believed that some time in the future 
light would come out of the darkness; but between then and the 
[:) present was a great gulf, whose depth of horror no man knew, in 
:' which the people to serve whom she had given herself must sink 
s and suffer — she could not tell how long. For them there was no 
) hope. 

I She did not, indeed, look for a continuance of the horrors 
fv which then prevailed. She knew that when the incentive was 
ji removed the acts would cease. There would be peace, because 
y there would no longer be any need for violence. But she was sure 
r there would be no real freedom, no equality of right, no certainty 
riof justice. She did not care who ruled, but she knew that this 
!;< people — she felt almost like calling them her people — needed 
1 the incentive of liberty, the inspiriting rivalry of open and fair 
li competition, to enable them to rise. Ay, to prevent them from 
^sinking lower and lower. She greatly feared that the words of a 
^journal which gloried in all that had been done toward abbrevi- 



352 Bricks Without Straw 

ating and annulling the powers, rights, and opportunities of the 
recent slaves might yet become verities if these people were 
deprived of such incentives. She remembered how deeply-rooted 
in the Southern mind was the idea that slavery was a social 
necessity. She did not believe, as so many had insisted, that it was 
founded merely in greed. She believed that it was with sincere 
conviction that a leading journal had declared: "The evils of free 
society are insufferable. Free society must fail and give way to a 
class society — a social system old as the world, universal as 
man." 

She knew that the leader of a would-be nation had declared: 
"A thousand must die as slaves or paupers in order that one 
gentleman may live. Yet they are cheap to any nation, even at 
that price." 

So she feared that the victors in the post-bellum strife which 
was raging around her would succeed, for a time at least, in 
establishing this ideal "class society." While the Nation slum- 
bered in indifference, she feared that these men, still full of die 
spirit of slavery, in the very name of law and order, under the 
pretense of decency and justice, would re-bind those whose feet 
had just begun to tread the path of liberty with shackles only less 
onerous than those which had been dashed from their limbs by 
red-handed war. As she thought of these things she read the 
following words from the pen of one who had carefully watched 
the process of "redemption," and had noted its results and tend- 
ency — not bitterly and angrily, as she had done, but coolly and 
approvingly: 

"We would like to engrave a prophecy on stone, to be read of i 
generations in the future. The Negro, in these [the Southern] 
States, will be slave again or cease to be. His sole refuge fromi 
extinction will be in slavery to the white man." * 

* Out of the numerous declarations of this conviction which have, 
been made by the Southern press every year since the war, I have se- 
lected one from the Meridian {Miss.) Mercury of July 31st, 1880.' 
I have done this simply to show that the sentiment is not yet dead. 



How Sleep the Brave? 353 

She remembered to have heard a great man say, on a memora- 
)le occasion, that "the forms of law have always been the graves 
)f buried liberties." She feared that, under the "forms" of sub- 
ferted laws, the liberties of a helpless people would indeed be 
mried. She had little care for the Nation. It was of those she had 
erved and whose future she regarded with such engrossing 
nterest that she thought. She did not dream of remedying the 
vil. That was beyond her power. She only thought she might 
ave some from its scath. To that she devoted herself. 

The day before, she had visited the cemetery where her broth- 
r's ashes reposed. She had long ago put a neat monument over 
lis grave, and had herself supplemented the national appropria- 
lon for its care. It was a beautiful inclosure, walled with stone, 
erdant with soft turf, and ornamented with rare shrubbey. 
Lcross it ran a little stream, with green banks sloping either way. 
.. single great elm drooped over its bubbling waters. A pleasant 
five ran with easy grade and graceful curves down one low hill 
j'ld up another. The iron gate opened upon a dusty highway, 
isside it stood the keeper's neat brick lodge. In front, and a little 
V the right, lay a sleepy Southern town half hidden in embower- 
;(g trees. Across the little ravine within the cemetery, upon the 
?:vel plateau, were the graves, marked, in some cases, by little 
kuare white monuments of polished marble, on which was but 
j)l& single word, "Unknown." A few bore the names of those 
bo slept below. But on one side there were five long mounds, 
wetching away, side by side, as wide as the graves were long, and 
I (long as four score graves. Smoothly rounded from end to end, 
tthout a break or a sign, they seemed a fit emblem of silence, 
p'here they began, a granite pillar rose high, decked with sym- 
lls of glory interspersed with emblems of mourning. Cannon, 
jittered and grim, the worn-out dogs of war, gaped with silent 
jvs up at the silent sky. No name was carved on base or capital, 
'{X on the marble shield upon the shaft. Only, "Sacred to the 
limory of the unknown heroes who died ." 



;How quick the memory fills out the rest! There had been a 



354 Bricks Without Straw 

military prison of the Confederacy just over the hill yonder, 
where the corn now grew so rank and thick. Twelve thousand 
men died there and were thrown into those long trenches where 
are now heaped-up mounds that look like giants' graves — not 
buried one by one, with coffin, shroud, and funeral rite, but one 
upon another heaped and piled, until the yawning pit would 
hold no more. No name was kept, no grave was marked, but in 
each trench was heaped one undistinguishable mass of dead 
humanity! 

Mollie Ainslie, when she had bidden farewell to her brother's 
grave, looked on these piled-up trenches, scanned the silent shaft, 
and going into the keeper's office just at hand, read for herself j 
the mournful record: 

Known 94 

Unknown 12,032 

Total 12,126 

Died in Prison 11,700 

As she wandered back to the town, she gleaned from what she! 
had seen a lesson of charity for the people toward whom her' 
heart had been full of hardness. 

"It was thus," she said to herself, "that they treated brave! 
foemen of their own race and people, who died, not on the 
battle-field, but of lingering disease in crowded prison pens, in 
the midst of pleasant homes and within hearing of the Sabbath 
chimes. None cared enough to give to each a grave, put up a 
simple board to mark the spot where love might come and weep 
— nay, not enough even to make entry of the name of the deac 
some heart must mourn. And if they did this to their dead 
foemen and kinsmen, their equals, why should we wonder thai 
they manifest equal barbarity toward the living freedman — theii 
recent slave, now suddenly exalted. // is the lesson and th 
fruitage of slavery!" 

And so she made excuse both for the barbarity of war and tk 



How Sleep the Brave? 355 

savagery which followed it by tracing both to their origin. She 
did not believe that human nature changed in an hour, but that 
centuries past bore fruit in centuries to come. She thought that 
the former master must be healed by the slow medicament of 
time before he could be able to recognize in all men the sanctity 
of manhood; as well as that the freedman must be taught to 
know and to defend his rights. 

When she left the cemetery, she mounted Midnight for a 
farewell ride. The next morning, before he arose, Hesden Le 
Moyne heard the neigh of his old war-horse, and, springing from 
his bed, he ran out and found him hitched at his gate. A note was 
(tied with a blue ribbon to his jetty forelock. He removed it, and 
;read: 

I return your noble horse with many thanks for the long loan. 
May I hope that he will be known henceforth only as Midnight? 

MOLLIE. 

He thought he recognized the ribbon as one which he had 
jjften seen encircling the neck of the writer, and foolishly treas- 
ured it upon his heart as a keepsake. 

The train bore away the teacher, and with her the wife and 
' i:hildren who fled, not knowing their father's fate, and the lawyer 
i^jvho sought an owner for an estate whose heir was too honorable 
■ o hold it wrongfully. 



5 2. • Redeemed out of the House 
of Bondage 



Three months passed peacefully away in Horsford. In the 
"redeemed" county its "natural rulers" bore sway once more. The 
crops which Nimbus had cultivated were harvested by a Receiver 
of the Court. The families that dwelt at Red Wing awaited in 
sullen silence the outcome of the suits which had been instituted, 
Of Nimbus and Eliab not a word had been heard. Some thought 
they had been killed; others that they had fled. The family of 
Berry Lawson had disappeared from the new home which he had 
made near "Bre'er Rufe Patterson's," in Hanson County. Some 
said that they had gone South; others that they had gone East. 
"Bre'er Rufe" declared that he did not know where they had 
gone. All he knew was that he was "ober dar ob a Saturday 
night, an' dar dey was, Sally an' de chillen; an' den he went dar, 
agin ob a Monday mornin' arly, an' dar dey wasn't, nary one ol^ 
'em." 

The excitement with regard to the will, and her fear that; 
Hesden was infected with the horrible virus of "Radicalism," had 
most alarmingly prostrated the invalid of Mulberry Hill. For a{ 
long time it was feared that her life of suffering was near its end, 
Hesden did not leave home at all, except once or twice to attem 
to some business as the trustee for the fugitive Jackson. Cousin 
Hetty had become a regular inmate of the house. All the inva-| 
lid's affection for her dead daughter-in-law seemed to have beep 
transferred to Hetty Lomax. No one could serve her so well, 
Even Hesden's attentions were less grateful. She spoke freely ol 
the time when she should see Hetty in her sister's place, th^ 
mistress of Mulberry Hill. She had given up all fear of th( 
property being claimed by others, since she had heard how smal 
were the chances of discovering an heir whose claims were no; 

356 



R.EDEEMED OUT OF THE HOUSE OF BONDAGE 357 

sbarred; and though she had consented to forego her legal rights, 
she trusted that a way would be found to satisfy any who might 
oe discovered. At any rate, she was sure that her promise would 
lot bind her successor, and, with the usual stubbornness of the 
chronic invalid, she determined that the estate should not pass 
'km of the family. In any event, she did not expect to live until 
f he finding of an heir, should there chance to be one. 
• One of the good citizens of the county began to show himself 
f n public for the first time since the raid on Red Wing. An ugly 
I* car stretched from his forehead down along his nose and across 
psiis lips and chin. At the least excitement it became red and 
Fngry, and gave him at all times a ghastly and malevolent 
5|ppearance. He was a great hero with the best citizens; was feted, 
'^idmired, and praised; and was at once made a deputy sheriff 
-nder the new regime. Another most worthy citizen, the superin- 
tendent of a Sabbath-school, and altogether one of the most 
'Estimable citizens of the county, had been so seriously affected 
■-"ith a malignant brain-fever since that bloody night that he had 
' ot yet left his bed. 

The colored men, most of whom from a foolish apprehension 

fad slept in the woods until the election, now began to perceive 

^Uat the nights were wholesome, and remained in their cabins. 

'hey seemed sullen and discontented, and sometimes whispered 

Pmong themselves of ill-usage and unfair treatment; but they 

•rere not noisy and clamorous, as they had been before the work 

2 • "redemption." It was especially noted that they were much 

fiore respectful and complaisant to their superiors than they had 

rien at any time since the Surrender. The old time "Marse" was 

W almost universally used, and few "niggers" presumed to 

eak to a white man in the country districts without removing 

; eir hats. In the towns the improvement was not so perceptible. 

be "sassy" ones seemed to take courage from their numbers, 

^ d there they were still sometimes "boisterous" and "obstreper- 

' s." On the whole, however, the result seemed eminently satis- 



358 Bricks Without Straw 

factory, with a prospect of growing better every day. Labor was 
more manageable, and there were much fewer appeals to the law 
by la2y, impudent, and dissatisfied laborers. The master's word 
was rarely disputed upon the day of settlement, and there was 
every prospect of reviving hope and continued prosperity on the 
part of men who worked their plantations by proxy, and who 
had been previously very greatly annoyed and discouraged by the 
persistent clamor of their "hands" for payment. 

There had been some ill-natured criticism of the course of 
Hesden Le Moyne. It was said that he had made some very 
imprudent remarks, both in regard to the treatment of Jordan 
Jackson and the affair at Red Wing. There were some, indeed, 
who openly declared that he had upheld and encouraged the 
niggers at Red Wing in their insolent and outrageous course, and 
had used language unworthy of a "Southern gentleman" con- 
cerning those patriotic men who had felt called upon, for the 
protection of their homes and property, to administer the some- j 
what severe lesson which had no doubt nipped disorder in the | 
bud, saved them from the war of races which had imminently 
impended, and brought "redemption" to the county. Several of 
Hesden's personal friends called upon him and remonstrated 
with him upon his course. Many thought he should be "visited," 
and "Radicalism in the county stamped out" at once, root and 
branch. He received warning from the Klan to the effect that he 
was considered a dangerous character, and must change his tone 
and take heed to his footsteps. As, however, his inclination to the 
dangerous doctrines was generally attributed in a great measure 
to his unfortunate infatuation for the little "nigger-teacher," it 
was hoped that her absence would effect a cure. Especially was 
this opinion entertained when it became known that his mother | 
was bitterly opposed to his course, and was fully determined to 
root the seeds of "Radicalism" from his mind. His attachment for 
her was well known, and it was generally believed that shej 



Redeemed out of the House of Bondage 359 

<i might be trusted to turn him from the error of his ways, particu- 
\ larly as she was the owner of Red Wing, and had freely declared 
^iher intention not to leave him a foot of it unless he abandoned 
i'lhis absurd and vicious notions. Hesden himself, though he went 
"abroad but little, saw that his friends had grown cool and that his 
' enemies had greatly multiplied. 

■ This was the situation of affairs in the good County of 

Horsford when, one bright morning in December — the morning 

^of "that day whereon our Saviour's birth is celebrate" — Hesden 

i(Le Moyne rode to the depot nearest to his home, purchased two 

^tickets to a Northern city, and, when the morning train came in, 

Assisted his "boy" Charles to lift from a covered wagon which 

"stood near by, the weak and pallid form of the long-lost "nigger 

'ipreacher," Eliab Hill, and place him upon the train. It was 

"•noticed by the loungers about the depot that Hesden carried but 

lalf concealed a navy revolver which seemed to have seen 

'•.ervice. There was some excitement in the little crowd over the 

'reappearance of Eliab Hill, but he was not interfered with. In 

' "act, the cars moved off so quickly after he was first seen that 

^here was no time to recover from the surprise produced by the 

' inexpected apparition. It was not until the smoke of the engine 

»iiad disappeared in the distance that the wrath of the bystanders 

■' IWothed itself in words. 

' Then the air reeked with expletives. What ought to have been 

f-ilone was discussed with great freedom. An excited crowd gath- 

^'tred around Charles as he was preparing to return home, and 

Allied him with questions. His ignorance was phenomenal, but 

ttie look of smpefied wonder with which he regarded his ques- 

ioners confirmed his words. It was not until he had proceeded a 

lile on his homeward way, with Midnight in leading behind the 

lil-board, that, having satisfied himself that there was no one 

' dthin hearing, by peeping from beneath the canvas covering of 

le wagon, both before and behind, he tied the reins to one of 



360 Bricks Without Straw 

the bows which upheld the cover, abandoned the mule to his 
own guidance, and throwing himself upon the mattress on which 
Eliab had lain, gave vent to roars of laughter. 

"Yah, yah, yah!" he cried, as the tears rolled down his black 
face. "It du take Marse Hesden to wax dem fellers! Dar he war, 
jest ez cool an' keerless ez yer please, a'standin' roun' an' waitin' 
fer de train an' payin' no 'tention at all ter me an* de wagon by i 
de platform, dar. Swar, but I war skeered nigh 'bout ter death, 
till I got dar an' seed him so quiet and keerless; an' Bre'er 'Liab, I 
he war jest a-prayin' all de time — but dat's no wonder. Den,i 
when de train whistle, Marse Hesden turn quick an' sharp an' I ! 
seed him gib dat ole pistol a jerk roun' in front, an' he come back | 
an' sed, jest ez cool an' quiet, 'Now, Charles!' I declar' it stiddiedi 
me up jes ter hear him, an' den up comes Bre'er 'Liab in my| 
arms. Marse Hesden helps a bit an' goes fru de crowd wid his 
mouf shet like a steel trap. We takes him on de cars. All aboard! 
Whoo-oop — pu§, puff/ Off she goes! an' dat crowd Stan's dar, 
a-cussin' all curration an' demselves to boot! Yah, yah, yah! 'Rahi 
for Marse Hesden!" 



53 • In the Cyclone i 

Then the storm burst. Every possible story was set afloat. The| ^j 
more absurd it seemed the more generally was it credited. Meni ^ 
talked and women chattered of nothing but Hesden Le Moyne,j ^ 
his infamous "negro-loving Radicalism," his infatuation with thcj i^, 
"Yankee school-marm," the anger of his mother, his ill-treatment |, 
of his cousin, Hetty Lomax; his hiding of the "nigger preacher", j. 



In the Cyclone 361 

in the loft of the dining-room, his alliance with the Red Wing 

elesperadoes to "burn every white house on that side of the river" 

I —in short, his treachery, his hypocrisy, his infamy. 

I On the street, in the stores, at the churches — wherever men 

: aet — this was the one unfailing theme of conversation. None but 

rhose who have seen a Southern community excited over one 

(abject or one man can imagine how much can be said about a 

little matter. The newspapers of that and the adjoining counties 

[t/ere full of it. Colored men were catechized in regard to it. His 

h riends vied with his enemies in vituperation, lest they should be 

;ispected of a like offense. He was accounted a monster by many, 

tnd an enemy by all who had been his former associates, and, 

^;:rangely enough, was at once looked upon as a friend and ally 

^y every colored man, and by the few white men of the county 

iivho secretly or silently held with the "'E.adicals." It was the 

biaptism of fire which every Southern man must face who pre- 

.^imes to differ from his fellows upon political questions. 

6' Nothing that he had previously done or said or been could 

ccuse or palliate his conduct. The fact that he was of a good 

iimily only rendered his alliance with "niggers" against his own 

i ;ice and class the more infamous. The fact that he was a man of 

ixbstantial means, and had sought no office or aggrandizement 

' the votes of colored men, made his offence the more heinous, 

:cause he could not even plead the poor excuse of self-interest, 

fie fact that he had served the Confederacy well, and bore on 

s person the indubitable proof of gallant conduct on the field 

! ! battle, was a still further aggravation of his act, because it 

I larked him as a renegade and a traitor to the cause for which he 

fid fought. Compared with a Northern Republican he was 

••counted far more infamous, because of his desertion of his 

nily, friends, comrades, and "the cause of the South" — a vague 

I nething which no man can define, but which "fires the South- 

U heart" with wonderful facility. Comparison with the negro 

' s still more to his disadvantage, since he had "sinned against 



362 Bricks Without Straw 

light and knowledge," while they did not even know their own 
"best friends," And so the tide of detraction ebbed and flowed 
while Hesden was absent, his destination unknown, his return a 
matter of conjecture, and his purpose a mystery. 

The most generally-accepted theory was that he had gone to 
Washington for the purpose of maliciously misrepresenting andl 
maligning the good people of Horsford, in order to secure thai 
stationing of soldiers in that vicinity, and their aid in arresting! 
and bringing to trial, for various offences against the peace andi 
persons of the colored people, some of the leading citizens of the 
county. In support of this they cited his intimate relations with 
Jordan Jackson, as well as with Nimbus and Eliab. It was soon 
reported that Jackson had met him at Washington; that Nimbus^ 
Desmit had also arrived there; that the whole party had beenj 
closeted with this and that leading "Radical"; and that the poorj 
stricken, down-trodden South — the land fairest and richest anc 
poorest and most peaceful and most chivalric, the most submis- 
sive and the most defiant; in short, the most contradictory in itsi 
self-conferred superlatives — that this land of antipodal excel- 
lences must now look for new forms of tyranny and new meas-j 
ures of oppression. 

The secrecy which had been preserved for three months iq 
regard to Eliab's place of concealment made a most profound 
impression upon Hesden's neighbors of the County of Horsfordi 
They spoke of it in low, horrified tones, which showed that the) 
felt deeply in regard to it. It was ascertained that no one in hij 
family knew of the presence of Eliab until the morning of hi; 
removal. Miss Hetty made haste to declare that in her twc 
months and more of attendance upon the invalid she had neve^ 
dreamed of such a thing. The servants stoutly denied all know! 
edge of it, except Charles, who could not get out of having cui 
the door through into the other room. It was believed thai 
Hesden had himself taken all the care of the injured man, whos« 
condition was not at all understood. How badly he had beei| 



In the Cyclone 363 

[i hurt, or in what manner, none could tell. Many visited the house 
pji to view the place of concealment. Only the closed doors could be 
'sii seen, for Hesden had taken the key with him. Some suggested 
that Nimbus was still concealed there, and several advised Mrs. 
) Le Moyne to get some one to go into the room. However, as no 
Pi one volunteered to go, nothing came of this advice. It was 
i( rumored, too, that Hesden had brought into the county several 
^ detectives, who had stolen into the hearts of the unsuspecting 
)i people of Horsford, and had gone Northward loaded down with 
)i information that would make trouble for some of the "best 
k men." 

It was generally believed that the old attic over the dining- 
'i room had long been a place where "Radicals" had been wont to 
^meet in solemn conclave to "plot against the whites." A thousand 
1 things were remembered which confirmed this view. It was here 
i that Hesden had harbored the detectives, as Rahab had hidden 
; the spies. It was quite evident that he had for a long time been an 
f emissary of the Government at Washington, and no one could 
guess what tales of outrage he might not fabricate in order to 
ilglut his appetite for inhuman revenge. The Southern man is 
jalways self-conscious. He thinks the world has him in its eye, and 
tithat he about fills the eye. This does not result from comparative 
r depreciation of others so much as from a habit of magnifying his 
iiown image. He always poses for effect. He walks, talks, and acts 
?"as if he felt the eyes of Europe on his tail," almost as much as 
the peacock, 

■ There are times, however, when even he does not care to be 
:^seen, and it was observed that about this time there were a 
!'goodly number of the citizens of Horsford who modestly retired 
'from the public gaze, some of them even going into remote 
'-States with some precipitation and an apparent desire to remain 
cfor a time unknown. It was even rumored that Hesden was with 
(Mimbus, disguised as a negro, in the attack made on the Klan 
during the raid on Red Wing, and that, by means of the detec- 



364 Bricks Without Straw 

tives, he had discovered every man engaged in that patriotic 
aflfair, as well as those concerned in others of like character. The 
disappearance of these men was, of course, in no way connected 
with this rumor. Since the "Southern people" have become the 
great jesters of the world, their conduct is not at all to be judged, 
by the ordinary rules of cause and effect as applied to human;" 
action. It might have been mere buffoonery, quite as well as 
modesty, that possessed some of the "best citizens of Horsford'j 
with an irrepressible desire to view the Falls of Niagara from tW 
Canadian side in mid-winter. There is no accounting for the actj 
of a nation of masqueraders! i 

But perhaps the most generally-accepted version of Hesden') 
journey was that he had run away to espouse Mollie Ainslie. Tc 
her was traced his whole bias toward the colored population anc 
"Radical" principles. Nothing evil was said of her character. Sb 
was admitted to be as good as anybody of her class could be— 
intelligent, bigoted, plucky, pretty, and malicious. It was a grea 
pity that a man belonging to a good family should become ini 
fatuated by one in her station. He could never bring her homd 
and she would never give up her "nigger-equality notions." Shi 
had already dragged him down to what he was. Such a man as he 
it was strenuously asserted, would not degrade himself to stand uj 
for such a man as Jordan Jackson or to associate with "niggers,! 
without some powerful extraneous influence. That influence wa 
Mollie Ainslie, who, having inveigled him into "Radicalism^ 
had now drawn him after her into the North and matrimony. 1 

But nowhere did the conduct of Hesden cause more intense ol 
confliaing feelings than at Mulberry Hill. His achievement ii 
succoring, hiding, and finally rescuing Eliab Hill was a sourQ 
of never-ending wonder, applause, and mirth in the kitchen. Bu 
Miss Hetty could not find words to express her anger and cha 
grin. Without being at all forward or immodest, she had desirq 
to succeed her dead sister in the good graces of Hesden 1 
Moyne, as well as in the position of mistress of the Hill. It was | 



In the Cyclone 365 

Jirery natural and proper feeling. They were cousins, had always 
O'Dcen neighbors, and Hesden's mother had encouraged the idea, 
Sfilmost from the time of his first wife's death. It was no wonder 
ihat she was jealous of the Yankee school-marm. Love is keen- 
1 yed, and she really loved her cousin. She had become satisfied, 
-s luring her stay at the Hill, that he was deeply attached to MoUie 
i \.inslie, and knew him too well to hope that he would change; 
3!nd such a conviction was, of course, not pleasant to her vanity. 
jt Jut when she was convinced that he had degraded himself and 
Dier by espousing "Radicalism" and associating with "niggers," 
iier wrath knew no bounds. It seemed an especial insult to her 
jiiiat the man whom she had honored with her affection should 
Nave so demeaned himself. 

"1 Mrs. Le Moyne was at first astonished, then grieved, and 

(nally angry. She especially sympathized with Hetty, the wreck 

► f whose hope she saw in this revelation. If Mollie Ainslie had 

seen "one of our people," instead of "a Northern nigger school- 

feacher," there would have been nothing so very bad about it. He 

pad never professed any especial regard or tenderness for Miss 

Hetty, and had never given her any reason to expect a nearer 

[jlation than she had always sustained toward him. Mollie was 

Dod enough in her way, bright and pretty and — but faugh! the 

tea! She would not believe it! Hesden was not and could not be 

'iP'Radical." He might have sheltered Eliab— ought to have done 

t; that she would say. He had been a slave of the family, and 

lid a right to look to her son for protection. But to be a 

jaladical!" She would not believe it. There was no use in talking 

'1 her. She remained stubbornly silent after she had gotten to the 

inclusive denial: "He could not do it!" 

- Nevertheless, she thought it well to use her power while she 
pid any. If he was indeed a "Radical," she would never forgive 
jfitn — never! So she determined to make her will. A man learned 
i ' the law was brought to the Hill, and Hester Le Moyne, in due 
i rm, by her last will and testament devised the plantation to her 



366 Bricks Without Straw 

beloved son Hesden Le Moyne, and her affectionate cousin Hetty 
Lomax, jointly, and to their heirs forever, on condition that the 
said devisees should intermarry with each other within one year 
from the death of the devisor; and in case either of the said 
devisees should refuse to intermarry with the other, then the part 
of such devisee was to go to the other, who should thereafter 
hold the fee in severalty, free of all claim from the other. 

The New York and Boston papers contained, day after day, 
this "personal": 

The heirs of James Richards, deceased, formerly of Marblehead, 
Massachusetts, will learn something to their advantage by addressing 
Theron Pardee, care of James & Jones, Attorneys, at No. — Broad- 
way, N. Y. 

Mrs. Le Moyne was well aware of this, and also remembered 
her promise to surrender the estate, should an heir be found. But 
that promise had been made under the influence of Hesden's 
ardent zeal for the right, and she found by indirection many 
excuses for avoiding its performance. "Of course," she said to 
herself, "if heirs should be found in my lifetime, I would revoke 
this testament; but it is not right that I should bind those who' 
come after me for all time to yield to his Quixotic notions 
Besides, why should I be juster than the law? This property has I 
been in the family for a long time, and ought to remain 
there." 

Her anger at Hesden burned very fiercely, and she even talked 
of refusing to see him, should he return, as she had no real doubt' 
he would. The excitement, however, prostrated her as usual, and 
her anger turned into querulous complainings as she grew 
weaker. 

The return of Hesden, hardly a week after his departure, 
brought him to face this tide of vituperation at its flood. All that 
had been said and written and done in regard to himself came 
forthwith to his knowledge. He was amazed, astounded for a' 
time, at the revelation. He had not expected it. He had expected! 






In the Cyclone 367 

I anger, and was prepared to meet it with forbearance and gentle- 
iness; but he was not prepared for detraction and calumny and 
ii insult. He had not been so very much surprised at the odium 
Which had been heaped upon Jordan Jackson. He belonged to 

■ that class of white people in the South to whom the better class 
1 owed little duty or regard. It was not so strange that they should 

slander that man. He could understand, too, how it was that they 
ii attributed to the colored people such incredible depravity, such 

capacity for evil, such impossible designs, as well as the reason 
I why they invented for every Northern man that came among 
J them with ideas different from their own a fictitious past, reeking 
Iwith infamy. 

He could sympathize in some degree with all of this. He had 
j(not thought, himself, that it was altogether the proper thing for 
iiithe illiterate "poor-white" man, Jordan Jackson, to lead the 
' negroes of the county in political hostility to the whites. He had 

■ felt naturally the distrust of the man of Northern birth which a 
,;;enmry of hostility and suspicion had bred in the air of the 
-south. He had grown up in it. He had been taught to regard the 
("Yankees" (which meant all Northerners) as a distinct people 
.—sometimes generous and brave, but normally envious, mean, 
: ow-spirited, treacherous, and malignant. He admitted the excep- 
; ions, but they only proved the rule. As a class he considered 
(hem cold, calculating, selfish, greedy of power and wealth, and 
^fegardless of the means by which these were acquired. Above all 
jihings, he had been taught to regard them as animated by hatred 

if the South. Knowing that this had been his own bias, he could 
-eadily excuse his neighbors for the same. 

But in his own case it was different. He was one of themselves. 

'hey knew him to be brave, honorable, of good family, of 

onservative instincts, fond of justice and fair play, and governed 
J 1 his actions only by the sincerest conviction. That they should 

ccuse him of every mean and low impossibility of act and 
, lotive, and befoul his holiest purposes and thoughts, was to him 



368 Bricks Without Straw 

a most horrible thing. His anger grew hotter and hotter, as he 
listened to each new tale of infamy which a week had sufficed to 
set afloat. Then he heard his mother's reproaches, and saw that 
even her love was not proof against a mere change of political 
sentiment on his part. These things set him to thinking as he had 
never thought before. The scales fell from his eyes, and from the 
kindly gentle Southern man of knightly instincts and gallant 
achievements was born — the "pestiferous Radical." He did not; 
hesitate to avow his conviction, and from that moment there was' 
around him a wall of fire. He had lost his rank, degraded his| 
caste, and fallen from his high estate. From and after that! 
moment he was held unworthy to wear the proud appellation, 
"A Southern Gentleman." 

However, as he took no active part in political life, and 
depended in no degree upon the patronage or good will of his 
neighbors for a livelihood, he felt the force of this feeling only in 
his social relations. Unaware, as yet, of the disherison which his 
mother had visited upon him in his absence, he continued to 
manage the plantation and conduct all the business pertaining to 
it in his own name, as he had done ever since the close of the 
war. At first he entertained a hope that the feeling against hinl 
would die out. But as time rolled on, and it continued still poten? 
and virulent, he came to analyze it more closely, judging his 
fellows by himself, and saw that it was the natural fruit of that 
intolerance which slavery made necessary — which was essential 
to its existence. Then he no longer wondered at them, but at 
himself. It did not seem strange that they should feel as they did, 
but rather that he should so soon have escaped from the tyranni- 
cal bias of mental habit. He saw that the struggle against it must 
be long and bitter, and he determined not to yield his convictions 
to the prejudices of others. 

It was a strange thing. In one part of the country — and that 
the greater in numbers, in wealth, in enterprise and vigor, in 
average intelligence and intellectual achievements — the senti-i 



In the Cyclone 369 

ments he had espoused were professed and believed by a great 
party which prided itself upon its intelligence, purity, respectabil- 
ity, and devotion to principle. In two thirds of the country his 
sentiments were held to be honorable, wise, and patriotic. Every 
act he had performed, every principle he had reluctantly avowed, 
would there have been applauded of all men. Nay, the people of 
that portion of the country were unable to believe that any one 
could seriously deny those principles. Yet in the other portion, 
where he lived, they were esteemed an ineffaceable brand of 
shame, which no merit of a spotless life could hide. 

The Southern Clarion, a newspaper of the County of Hors- 
ford, in referring to his conduct, said: 

Of all such an example should be made. Inaugurate social ostra- 
cism against every white man who gives any support to the Radical 
Party. Every true Southern man or woman should refuse to recog- 
nize as a gentleman any man belonging to that party, or having any 

! dealings with it. Hesden Le Moyne has chosen to degrade an 
honored name. He has elected to go with niggers, nigger teachers, 
and nigger preachers; but let him forever be an outcast among the 
respectable and high minded white people of Horsford, whom he 

i has betrayed and disgraced!" 

\ 

i ' A week later, it contained another paragraph: 

Pi We understand that the purpose of Hesden Le Moyne in going to 
'^t the North was not entirely to stir up Northern prejudice and 
i) hostility against our people. At least, that is what he claims. He only 
5 went, we are informed he says, to take the half -monkey negro 
.\ preacher who calls himself Eliab Hill to a so-called college in the 
\ North to complete his education. We shall no doubt soon have this 
^misshapen, malicious hypocrite paraded through the North as an 
1) evidence of Southern barbarity. 

: The truth is, as we are credibly informed, that what injuries he 
received on the night of the raid upon Red Wing were purely 
Iji accidental. There were some in the company, it seems, who were 
disappointed at not finding the black desperado, Nimbus Desmit, 
who was organizing his depraved followers to burn, kill, and ravish, 
and proposed to administer a moderate whipping to the fellow 



370 Bricks Without Straw 

Eliab, who was really supposed to be at the bottom of all the other's 
rascality. These few hot-heads burst in the door of his cabin, but one 
of the oldest and coolest of the crowd rushed in and, at the 
imminent risk of his own life, rescued him from them. In order to 
bring him out into the light where he could be proteaed, he caught 
the baboon-like creature by his foot, and he was somewhat injured 
thereby. He is said to have been shot also, but we are assured that 
not a shot was fired, except by some person with a repeating rifle, 
who fired upon the company of white men from the woods beyond 
the school-house. It is probable that some of these shots struck the 
preacher, and it is generally believed that they were fired by Hesden 
Le Moyne. Several who were there have expressed the opinion that, 
from the manner in which the shooting was done, it must have been 
by a man with one arm. However, Eliab will make a good Radical 
show, and we shall have another dose of Puritanical, hypocritical 
cant about Southern barbarity. Well, we can bear it. We have got 
the power in Horsford, and we mean to hold it. Niggers and 
nigger-worshippers must take care of themselves. This is a white 
man's country, and white men are going to rule it, no matter 
whether the North whines or not. 

The report given in this account of the purpose of Hesden's 
journey to the North was the correct one. In the three months in 
which the deformed man had been under his care, he had learned 
that a noble soul and a rare mind were shut up in that crippled 
form, and had determined to atone for his former coolness and 
doubt, as well as mark his approval of the course of this hunted 
victim, by giving him an opportunity to develop his powers. He 
accordingly placed him in a Northern college, and became re- 
sponsible for the expenses of his education. 



' 



54 ' A Bolt out of the Cloud 



A year had passed, and there had been no important change in 

the relations of the personages of our story. The teacher and her 

"obstreperous" pupils had disappeared from Horsford and had 

been almost forgotten. Hesden, his mother, and Cousin Hetty 

still led their accustomed life at Red Wing. Detraction had worn 

itself out upon the former, for want of a new occasion. He was 

still made to feel, in the little society which he saw, that he was a 

black sheep in an otherwise spotless fold. He did not complain. 

He did not account himself "ostracized," nor wonder at this 

: treatment. He saw how natural it was, how consistent with the 

training and development his neighbors had received. He simply 

said to himself, and to the few friends who still met him kindly, 

> "I can do without the society of others as long as they can do 

without mine. I can wait. This thing must end some time — if not 

I in my day, then afterward. Our people must come out of it and 

I rise above it. They must learn that to be Americans is better than 

,{to be "Southern." Then they will see that the interests and safety 

, of the whole nation demand the freedom and political co-equal- 

uity of all." 

y These same friends comforted him much as did those who 
largued with the man of Uz. 

,_ Mrs. Le Moyne's life had gone back to its old channel. Shut 
liDut from the world, she saw only the fringes of the feeling that 
:nad set so strongly against her son. Indeed, she received perhaps 
more attention than usual in the way of calls and short visits, 
i'.ince she was understood to have manifested a proper spirit of 
resentment at his conduct. Hesden himself was almost the only 
, one who did not know of her will. It was thought, of course, that 
' he was holding it over him in terrorem. 

Yet he was just as tender and considerate of her as formerly, 
land she was apparently just as fond of him. She had not yet 

! 371 



372 Bricks Without Straw 

given up her plan of a matrimonial alliance for him with G)usin 
Hetty, but that young lady herself had quite abandoned the 
notion. In the year she had been at Mulberry Hill she had come 
to know Hesden better, and to esteem him more highly than ever 
before. She knew that he regarded her with none of the feeling 
his mother desired to see between them, but they had become 
good friends, and after a short time she was almost the only one 
of his relatives that had not allowed his political views to sunder 
their social relations. Living in the same house, it was of course 
impossible to maintain a constant state of siege; but she had gone 
farther, and had held out a flag of truce, and declared her 
conviction of the honesty of his views and the honorableness of 
his intention. She did not think as he did, but she had finally 
become willing to let him think for himself. People said she was 
in love with Hesden, and that with his mother's aid she would 
yet conquer his indifference. She did not think so. She sighed 
when she confessed the fact to herself. She did indeed hope that 
he had forgotten Mollie Ainslie. She could never live to see her 
mistress at the dear old Hill! 

The term of the court was coming on at which the suits that 
had been brought by Winburn against the occupants of Red 
Wing must be tried. Many had left the place, and it was noticed 
that from all who desired to leave, Theron Pardee had purchased, 
at the full value, the titles which they held under Nimbus, and 
that they had all gone off somewhere out West. Others had 
elected to remain, with a sort of blind faith that all would come 
out right after a while, or from mere disinclination to leave 
familiar scenes — that feeling which is always so strong in the 
African race. 

It was at this time that Pardee came one day to Mulberry Hill 
and announced his readiness to make report in the matter in- 
trusted to his charge concerning the will of J. Richards. 

""Well," said Hesden, '"have you found the heirs?" 

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Le Moyne," said Pardee; '"I have 



A Bolt out of the Cloud 373 

assumed a somewhat complicated relation to this matter, acting 
under the spirit of my instructions, which makes it desirable, 
perhaps almost necessary, that I should confer directly with the 
present owner of this plantation, and that is — ?" 

"My mother," said Hesden, as he paused. "I suppose it will be 
mine some time," he continued laughing, "but I have no present 
interest in it." 

"Yes," said the lawyer. "And is Mrs. Le Moyne's health such as 
to permit her considering this matter now?" 

"Oh, I think so," said Hesden. "I will see her and ascertain." 
In a short time the attorney was ushered into the invalid's 
room, where Mrs. Le Moyne, reclining on her beautifully deco- 
rated couch, received him pleasantly, exclaiming, 

"You will see how badly oif I am for company. Captain 

Pardee, when I assure you that I am glad to see even a lawyer 

with such a bundle of papers as you have brought. I have 

; literally nobody but these two children," glancing at Hesden and 

1 Hetty, "and I declare I believe I am younger and more cheerful 

1 than either of them." 

"Your cheerfulness, madam," replied Pardee, "is an object of 
ii universal remark and wonder. I sincerely trust that nothing in 
f these papers will at all affect your equanimity." 
I "But what have you in that bundle, Captain?" she asked. "I 
p assure you that I am dying to know why you should insist on 
|i assailing a sick woman with such a formidable array of 
J documents." 

. "Before proceeding to satisfy your very natural curiosity, 
.1 madam," answered Pardee, with a glance at Miss Hetty, "permit 
I me to say that my communication is of great moment to you as 
jithe owner of this plantation, and to your son as your heir, and is 
, of such a character that you might desire to consider it carefully 
before it should come to the knowledge of other parties." 

"Oh, never mind Cousin Hetty," said Mrs. Le Moyne quickly. 
3!"She has just as much interest in the matter as any one." 



374 Bricks Without Straw 

The lawyer glanced at Hesden, who hastened to say, 

"I am sure there can be nothing of interest to me which I 
would not be willing that my cousin should know." 

The young lady rose to go, but both Hesden and Mrs. Le 
Moyne insisted on her remaining. 

"Certainly," said Pardee, "there can be no objection on my 
part. I merely called your attention to the fact as a part of my 
duty as your legal adviser." 

So Miss Hetty remained sitting upon the side of the bed, 
holding one of the invalid's hands. Pardee seated himself at a 
small table near the bed, and, having arranged his papers so that 
they would be convenient for reference, began: 

"You will recollect, madam, that the task intrusted to me was 
twofold: first, to verify this will found by your son and ascertain 
whose testament it was, its validity or invalidity; and, in case it 
was valid, its effect and force. Secondly, I was directed to make 
all reasonable effort, in case of its validity being established, to ' 
ascertain the existence of any one entitled to take under its 
provisions. In this book," said he, holding up a small volume, "I 
have kept a diary of all that I have done in regard to the matter, 
with dates and places. It will give you in detail what I shall now 
state briefly. 

"I went to Lancaster, where the will purports to have been 
executed, and ascertained its genuineness by proving the signa- 
tures of the attesting witnesses, and established also the fact of 
their death. These affidavits" — holding up a bundle of papers — ' 
"show that I also inquired as to the testator's identity; but I could 
learn nothing except that the descendants of one of the witnesses 
who had bought your ancestor's farm, upon his removal to the 
South, still had his deed in possession. I copied it, and took a 
tracing of the signature, which is identical with that which hel* 
subsequently used — James Richards, written in a heavy and 
somewhat sloping hand, for that time. I could learn nothing 
more in regard to him or his family. 

"Proceeding then to Marblehead, I learned these facts. There 



f 



A Bolt out of the Cloud 375 

were two parties named James Richards. They were cousins; and 
in order to distinguish them from each other they were called by 
the family and neighbors, 'Red Jim' and 'Black Jim' respectively 
— the one having red hair and blue eyes, and the other dark hair 
and black eyes." 

"Yes," interrupted Mrs. Le Moyne, "I was the only blonde in 
my family, and I have often heard my father say that I got it 
from some ancestral strain, perhaps the Whidbys, and resembled 
his cousins." 

"Yes," answered Pardee, "a Whidby was a common ancestress 
of your father and his cousin, 'Red Jim.' It is strange how family 
traits reproduce themselves in widely-separated strains of 
: blood." 

"Well," said Hesden, "did you connect him with this will?" 
"Most conclusively," was the reply. "In the first place, his 
wife's name was Edna — Edna Goddard — before marriage, and he 
, left an only daughter, Alice. He was older than his cousin, 'Black 
J Jim,' to whom he was greatly attached. The latter removed to 
[Lancaster, when about twenty-five years of age, having inherited 
,a considerable estate in that vicinity. I had not thought of 
^examining the record of wills while in Lancaster, but on my 
,;return I went to the Prothonotary's office, and verified this also. 
pfSo there is no doubt about the 'Black Jim' of the Marblehead 
j/amily being your ancestor." 

[ "Stop! stop! Captain Pardee!" interrupted Mrs. Le Moyne 
.quickly, "Isn't Marblehead near Cape Cod?" 
[ "Yes, madam." 
= "And Buzzard's Bay?" 
"Certainly." 

"No wonder," said she, laughing, "that you wanted Hetty to 
r.eave before you opened your budget. Do pray run away, child, 
j^^iefore you hear any more to our discredit. Hesden, do please 
yscort your cousin out of the room," she added, in assumed 
I istress. 
,. "No indeed," laughed Miss Hetty; "I am getting interested. 



376 Bricks Without Straw 

and as you would not let me go when I wished to, I have now 
determined to stay till the last horror is revealed." 

"It is too late, mother," said Hesden ruefully; "fortunately. 
Cousin Hetty is not attainted, except collaterally, thus far." 

"Well, go on. Captain," said Mrs. Le Moyne gayly. "What 
else? Pray what was the family occupation — 'calling' I believe 
they say in New England. I suppose they had some calling, as 
they never have any 'gentlemen' in that country." 

Pardee's face flushed hotly. He was born among the New 
Hampshire hills himself. However, he answered calmly, but with 
a slight emphasis, 

"They were seafaring men, madam." 

"Oh, my!" cried the invalid, clapping her hands. "Codfish! 
codfish! I knew it, Hetty! I knew it! Why didn't you go out of 
the room when I begged you to? Do you hear it, Hesden? That is 
where you get your Radicalism from. My! my!" she laughed, 
almost hysterically, "what a family! Codfish at one end and 
Radical at the other! 'And the last state of that man was worse 
than the first!' What would not the newspapers give to know 
that of you, Hesden?" 

She laughed until the tears came, and her auditors laughed 
with her. Yet, despite her mirth, it was easy to detect the 
evidence of strong feeling in her manner. She carried it off 
bravely, however, and said, 

"But, perhaps. Captain Pardee, you can relieve us a little. 
Perhaps they were not cod-fishers but mackerelers. I remember a 
song I have heard my father sing, beginning, 

When Jake came home from mack'reling, 

He sought his Sary Ann, 
And found that she, the heartless thing. 

Had found another man! 

"Do please say that they were mackerelers!" 

"I am sorry I cannot relieve your anxiety on that point," said | 



A Bolt out of the Cloud 377 

Pardee, "but I can assure you they were a very respectable 
family." 

"No doubt, as families go 'there," she answered, with some 
bitterness, "They doubtless sold good fish, and gave a hundred 
pounds for a quintal, or whatever it is they sell the filthy truck 
by." 

"They were very successful and somewhat noted privateers 
during the Revolution," said Pardee. 

"Worse and worse!" said Mrs. Le Moyne. Better they were 
fishermen than pirates! I wonder if they didn't bring over niggers 
too?" 

"I should not be at all surprised," answered Pardee coolly. 
"This 'Red Jim' was master and owner of a vessel of some kind, 
1 and was on his way back from Charleston, where it seems he had 
i sold both his vessel and cargo, when he executed this will." 
"But how do you know that it is his will?" asked Hesden. 
j "Oh, there is no doubt," said Pardee. "Being a shipmaster, his 
> signature was necessarily affixed to many papers. I have found 
! not less than twenty of these, all identical with the signature of 
' the will." 

"That would certainly seem to be conclusive," said Hesden. 
"Taken with other things, it is," answered Pardee. "Among 
bother things is a letter from your grandfather, which was found 
3 pasted inside the cover of a Bible that belonged to Mrs. Edna 
j Richards, in regard to the death of her husband. In it he says that 
;ihis cousin visited him on his way home; went from there to 
I 'Philadelphia, and was taken sick; your grandfather was notified 
iand went on, but death had taken place before he arrived. The 
1 eletter states that he had but little money and no valuable papers 
except such as he sent. Out of the money he had paid the funeral 
I expenses, and would remit the balance as soon as he could make 
ran opportunity. The tradition in 'Red Jim's' family is that he died 
I of yellow fever in Philadelphia, on his way home with the 
I proceeds of his sale, and was robbed of his money before the 



378 Bricks Without Straw 

arrival of his cousin. No suspicion seems ever to have fallen on 
'Black Jim.' " 

"Thank God for that!" ejaculated Hesden fervently. 

"I suppose you took care to awaken none," said Mrs. Le 
Moyne. 

"I spoke of it to but one person, to whom it became absolutely 
necessary to reveal it. However, it is perfectly safe, and will go 
no farther." 

"Well, did you find any descendants of this "Red Jim' living?" 
asked Mrs. Le Moyne. 

"One," answered Pardee. 

"Only one?" said she. "I declare, Hesden, the Richards family 
is not numerous if it is strong." 

"Why do you say 'strong,' mother?" 

"Oh, codfish and Radicals, you know!" 

"Now, mother — " 

"Oh, if you hate to hear about it, why don't you quit the dirty 
crowd and be a gentleman again. Or is it your new-found cousin 
you feel so bad for? By the way. Captain, is it a boy or girl, and is 
it old or young?" 

"It is a lady, madam, some twenty years of age or 
thereabout." 

"A lady? Well, I suppose that is what they call them there. 
Married or single?" 

"Single." 

"What a pity you are getting so old, Hesden! You might make 
a match and settler her claim in that way. Though I don't 
suppose she has any in law." 

"On the contrary, madam," said Pardee, "her title is perfect. 
She can recover not only this plantation but every rood of the 
original tract." 

"You don't say!" exclaimed the invalid. "It would make her I 
one of the richest women in the State! " ' 

"Undoubtedly." 



A Bolt out of the Cloud 379 

"Oh, it cannot be, Captain Pardee!" exclaimed Miss Hetty. "It 
cannot be!" 

"There can be no doubt about it," said Pardee. "She is the 
great-grand-daughter of "Red Jim,' and his only lineal descend- 
ant. His daughter Alice, to whom this is bequeathed, married 
before arriving at the age of eighteen, and died in wedlock, 
leaving an only daughter, who also married before she became of 
age, and also died in wedlock, leaving a son and daughter 
surviving. The son died without heirs of his body, and only the 
daughter is left. There has never been an hour when the action 
)of the statute was not barred." 

"Have you seen her?" asked Mrs. Le Moyne. 

"Yes." 

"Does she know her good luck?" 

"She is fully informed of her rights." 

"Indeed? You told her, I suppose?" 

"I found her already aware of them." 

"Why, how could that be?" 

"I am sure I do not know," said Pardee, glancing sharply at 
^esden. 

i "What," said Hesden, with a start; "what did you say is the 
jaame of the heir?" 

j "I did not say," said Pardee coolly. Hesden sprang to his feet, 
rind going across the room stood gazing out of the window. 
' "Why don't you tell us the name of the heir. Captain? You 
);inust know we are dying to hear all about our new cousin," said 
i'Jvlrs. Le Moyne bitterly. "Is she long or short, fat or lean, dark or 
iair? Do tell us all about her?" 

: "In appearance, madam," said Pardee carelessly, "I should say 
:he much resembled yourself at her age." 

"Oh, Captain, you flatter me, I'm sure," she answered, with 
3 ist a hint of a sneer. "Well, what is her name, and when does 
he wish to take possession?" 

"Her name, madam, you must excuse me if I withhold for the 



380 Bricks Without Straw 

present. I am the bearer of a proposition of compromise from 
her, which, if accepted, will, I hope, avoid all trouble. If not 
accepted, I shall find myself under the necessity of asking to be 
relieved from further responsibility in this matter." 

"Come here, Hesden," said his mother, "and hear what terms 
your new cousin wants for Mulberry Hill. I hope we won't have 
to move out till spring. It would be mighty bad to be out of 
doors all winter. Go on. Captain Pardee, Hesden is ready now. 
This is what comes of your silly idea about doing justice to some 
low-down Yankee. It's a pity you hadn't sense enough to burn the 
will up. It would have been better all round. The wealth will 
turn the girl's head, and the loss of my home will kill me," she 
continued fiercely to her son. 

"As to the young lady, you need have no fear," said Pardee. 
"She is not one of the kind that lose their heads." 

"Ah, you seem to be quite an admirer of her?" 

"I am, madam." 

"If we do not accept her proposal, you will no doubt become 
her attorney?" 

"I am such already." 

"You don't say so? Well, you are making good speed. I should ■■ 
think you might have waited till you had dropped us before 
picking her up. But then, it will be a good thing to be the ' 
attorney of such an heiress, and we shall be poor indeed after she 
gets her own — as you say it is." I 

"Madam," said Pardee seriously, "I shall expect you to apolo- ^ 
gize both to me and to my client when you have heard her 
proposition." 

"I shall be very likely to, Mr. Pardee," she said, with a dry 
laugh. "I come of an apologetic race. Old Jim Richards was full 
of apologies. He liked to have died of them, numberless times. 
But what is your proposal?" 

"As I said," remarked Pardee, "my client — I beg pardon — the 
great-grand-daughter of 'Red Jim' Richards, instructs me to say 
that she does not desire to stain her family name or injure your c 



I 



I 



A Bolt out of the Cloud 381 

feelings by exposing the fraud of your ancestor, "Black Jim' 
Richards. 

"What, sir!" said Mrs. Le Moyne sharply. "Fraud! You had 
better measure your words, sir, when you speak of my father. Do 
you hear that, Hesden? Have you lost all spirit since you became 
a Radical?" she continued, while her eyes flashed angrily. 

"I am sorry to say that I do not see what milder term could be 
1 used," said Hesden calmly. "Go on with your proposition, sir." 

"Well, as I said," continued the lawyer, "this young lady, 

I desiring to save the family name and your feelings from the 

shock of exposure, has instructed me to say: First, that she does 

not wish to disturb any of those rights which have been obtained 

1 by purchase from your ancestor; and second, that she understands 

1 that there is a dispute in regard to the title of a portion of it — the 

1 tract generally known as Red Wing — neither of the parties 

( claiming which have any title as against her. She understands 

I that the title held by Winburn is technically good against that of 

I the colored man, Nimbus Desmit, providing hers is not set up. 

"Now she proposes that if you will satisfy Winburn and 

obtain a quit-claim from him to Desmit, she will make a deed in 

fee to Mrs. Le Moyne of the whole tract; and as you hold by 

! inheritance from one who purported to convey the fee, the title 

\ will thereafter be estopped, and all rights held under the deeds of 

1' 'Black Jim' Richards will be confirmed." 

"Well, what else?" asked Mrs. Le Moyne breathlessly, as he 
I paused. 
j "There is nothing more." 

"Nothing more! Why, does the girl propose to give away all 
t this magnificent property for nothing?" she asked in 
i astonishment. 

"Absolutely nothing to her own comfort or advantage," an- 
s swered the attorney. 

"Well, now, that is kind — that is kind! " said the invalid. "I am 
f> sorry for what I have said of her, Captain Pardee." 
"I thought you would be, madam," he replied. 



382 Bricks Without Straw | 

"You must attend to that Red Wing matter immediately, 
Hesden," she said, thoughtfully. 

"You accept the proposal then?" asked Pardee. 

"Accept, man? Of course we do!" said Mrs. Le Moyne. 

"Stop, mother!" said Hesden. "You may accept for yourself, 
but not for me. Is this woman able to give away such a fortune?" 
he asked of Pardee. 

"She is not rich. She has been a teacher, and has some property 
— enough, she insists, for comfort," was the answer. 

"If she had offered to sell, I would have bought at any possible 
price, but I cannot take such a gift! " 

"Do you accept the terms?" asked Pardee of Mrs. Le 
Moyne. 

"I do," she answered doggedly, but with a face flushing with 
shame. 

"Then, madam, let me say that I have already shown the 
proofs in confidence to Winburn's attorney. He agrees that they 
have no chance, and is willing to sell the interest he represents 
for five hundred dollars. That I have already paid, and havei 
taken a quit-claim to Desmit. Upon the payment of that, and my ' 
bill for services, I stand ready to deliver to you the title." 

The whole amount was soon ascertained and a check given to I 
Pardee for the sum. Thereupon he handed over to Mrs. Le 
Moyne a deed in fee-simple, duly executed, covering the entire 
tract, except that about Red Wing, which was conveyed to 
Nimbus in a deed directly to him. Mrs. Le Moyne unfolded thci 
deed, and turning quickly to the last page read the name of the 
donor: ' 

"MoLLiE Ainslie!" 

"What!" she exclaimed, "not the little nigger teacher at Red 
Wing?" 

"The same, madam," said Pardee, with a smile and a bow. 
The announcement was too much for the long-excited invalid. 



An Unconditional Surrender 383 

She fell back fainting upon her pillow, and while Cousin Hetty 
devoted herself to restoring her relative to consciousness, Pardee 
gathered up his papers and withdrew. Hesden followed him, 
presently, and asked where Miss Ainslie was. 

"I am directed," said Pardee, "not to disclose her residence, but 
will at any time forward any communication you may desire to 
make." 



55 • An Unconditional Surrender 



j The next day Mr. Pardee received a note from Mrs. Le Moyne, 

=' requesting him to come to Mulberry Hill at his earliest conven- 

.! ience. Being at the time disengaged, he returned with the messen- 

^, ger. Upon being ushered again into the invalid's room, he found 

rj\ Miss Hetty Lomax with a jflushed face standing by the bedside. 

'^ Both the ladies greeted him with some appearance of 

3' embarrassment. 

, "Cousin Hetty," said the invalid, "will you ask Hesden to come 

3,1 here for a moment?" 

)^ Miss Hetty left the room, and returned a moment afterward in 

( company with Hesden. 

"Hesden," said Mrs. Le Moyne, "were you in earnest in what 

I you said yesterday in regard to receiving any benefits under this 

ideed?" 

"Certainly, mother," replied Hesden; "I could never consent to 

do so." 

I "Very well, my son," said the invalid; "you are perhaps right; 



384 Bricks Without Straw 

but I wish you to know that I had heretofore made my will, 
giving to you and Cousin Hetty a joint interest in my estate. You 
know the feeling which induced me to do so. I am in the 
confessional to-day, and may as well admit that I was hasty and 
perhaps unjust in so doing. In justice to Cousin Hetty I wish also 
to say — " 

"Oh, please, Mrs. Le Moyne," interrupted Hetty, blushing 
deeply. 

"Hush, my child," said the invalid tenderly; "I must be just to 
you as well as to others. Hetty," she continued, turning her eyes 
upon Hesden, who stood looking in wonder from one to the 
other, "has long tried to persuade me to revoke that instrument. I 
have at length determined to cancel and destroy it, and shall 
proceed to make a new one, which I desire that both of you shall 
witness when it has been drawn." 

Being thus dismissed, Hesden and his cousin withdrew, while 
Pardee seated himself at the little table by the bedside, on which 
writing materials had already been placed, and proceeded to 
receive instructions and prepare the will as she directed. When it 
had been completed and read over to her, she said, wearily, 

"That is right." 

The attorney called Hesden and his cousin, who, having wit- 
nessed the will by her request, again withdrew. 

"Now Mr. Pardee," said Mrs. Le Moyne sadly, "I believe that I 
have done my duty as well as Hesden has done his. It is hard, 
very hard, for me to give up projects which I have cherished so 
long. As I have constituted you my executor, I desire that you 
will keep this will, and allow no person to know its contents un- 
less directed by me to do so, until my death." 

"Your wishes shall be strictly complied with, madam," said 
Pardee, as he folded the instrimient and placed it in his pocket. 

"I have still another favor to request of you, Mr. Pardee," she 
said. "I have written this note to Miss Ainslie, which I wish you 
to read and then transmit to her. No, no," she continued, as she 



An Unconditional Surrender 385 

saw him about to seal the letter which she had given him, with- 
out reading it; "you must read it. You know something of what it 
has cost me to write it, and will be a better judge than I as to 
whether it contains all that I should say." 

Thus adjured, Pardee opened the letter and read: 

Mulberry Hill, Saturday, Oct. 8, i8ji. 
My Dear Miss Ainslie: 

Captain Pardee informed us yesterday of your nobly disinterested 
action in regard to the estate rightfully belonging to you. Words 
cannot express my gratimde for the consideration you have shown 
to our feelings in thus shielding the memory of the dead. Mr. Pardee 
will transmit to you with this the papers, showing that we have 
complied with your request. Pardon me if I do not write as warmly 
as I ought. One as old and proud as I cannot easily adapt herself to 
so new and strange a role. I hope that time will enable me to think 
more calmly and speak more freely of this matter. 

Hoping you will forgive my constraint, and believe that it arises 
from no lack of appreciation of your magnanimity, but only springs 
from my own weakness; and asking your pardon for all unkindness 
of thought, word, or act in the past, I remain, 

Yours gratefully, 
Hester Richards Le Moyne. 

"My dear Mrs. Le Moyne," said Pardee, as he extended his 
hand and grasped that of the suffering woman, "I am sure Miss 
u Ainslie would never require any such painful acknowledgment at 
j your hands." 

, "I know she would not," was the reply; "it is not she that 
I requires it, but myself — ^my honor, Mr. Pardee. You must not 
s suppose, nor must she believe, that the wife of a Le Moyne can 
f forget the obligations of justice, though her father may have 
i unfortunately done so." 

"But I am sure it will cause her pain," said Pardee. 

"Would it cause her less were I to refuse what she has so 
|i delicately given?" 
j "No, indeed," said the attorney. 



386 Bricks Without Straw 

"Then I see no other way." 

"Perhaps there is none," said Pardee thoughtfully. 

"You think I have said enough?" she asked. 

"You could not say more," was the reply. After a moment's 
pause he continued, "Are you willing that I should give Miss 
Ainslie any statement I may choose of this matter?" 

"I should prefer," she answered, "that nothing more be said; j 
unless," she added, with a smile, "you conceive that your duty j 
imperatively demands it." i 

"And Hesden?" he began. I 

"Pardon me, sir," she said, with dignity; "I will not conceal 
from you that my son's course has given me great pain; indeed, : 
you are already aware of that fact. Since yesterday, I have for the : 
first time admitted to myself that in abandoning the cause of the 
Southern people he has acted from a sense of duty. My own 
inclination, after sober second thought," she added, as a slight 
flush overspread her pale face, "would have been to refuse, as he i 
has done, this bounty from the hands of a stranger; more particu- 
larly from one in the position which Miss Ainslie has occupied; 
but I feel also that her unexpected delicacy demands the fullest ) 
recognition at our hands. Hesden will take such course as his ) 
own sense of honor may dictate." ' 

"Am I at liberty to inform him of the nature of the testament J 
which you have made?" ' 

"I prefer not." 

"Well," said Pardee, "if there is nothing more to be done I : 
will bid you good-evening, hoping that time may yet bring a 
pleasant result out of these painful circumstances." 

After the lawyer had retired, Mrs. Le Moyne summoned her 
son to her bedside and said, ' 

"I hope you will forgive me, Hesden, for all — " ) 

"Stop, mother," said he, playfully laying his hand over her 
mouth; "I can listen to no such language from you. When I was ; 
a boy you used to stop my confessions of wrong-doing with a 



An Unconditional Surrender 387 

kiss; how much more ought silence to be sufl&cient between us 
now." 

He knelt by her side and pressed his lips to hers. 
"Oh, my son, my son!" said the weeping woman, as she 
pushed back the hair above his forehead and looked into his eyes; 
"only give your mother time — you know it is so hard — so hard. I 
am trying, Hesden; and you must be very kind to me, very 
gentle. It will not be for long, but we must be alone — all 
alone — as we were before all these things came about. Only," she 
added sobbingly, "only little Hildreth is not here now." 

"Believe me, mother," said he, and the tears fell upon the 
. gentle face over which he bent, "I will do nothing to cause you 
}pain. My opinions I cannot renounce, because I believe them 
:i right." 

"I know, I know, my son," she said; "but it is so hard — so 
hard — to think that we must lose the place which we have always 
) held in the esteem of — all those about us." 
I There was silence for a time, and then she continued, 
] "Hetty thinks it is best — that — that she — should — not remain 
Jihere longer at this time. She is perhaps right, my son. You must 
i(not blame her for anything that has occurred; indeed — indeed 
she is not at fault. In fact," she added, "she has done much 
Ttoward showing me my duty. Of course it is hard for her, as it is 
for me, to be under obligations to — to — such a one as Miss 
.Ainslie. It is very hard to believe that she could have done as she 
Ihas without some — some unworthy motive." 
t "Mother!" said Hesden earnestly, raising his head and gazing 
reproachfully at her, 

"Don't — don't, my son! I am trying — believe me, I am trying; 
3ut it is so hard. Why should she give up all this for our 
lakes?" 

"Not for ours mother — not for ours alone; for her own as 
ivell." 

"Oh, my son, what does she know of family pride?" 



388 Bricks Without Straw 

"Mother," said he gravely, "she is prouder than we ever were. 
Oh, I know it," — seeing the look of incredulity upon her face; — 
"prouder than any Richards or Le Moyne that ever lived; only it 
is a different kind of pride. She would starve, mother," he 
continued impetuously; "she would work her fingers to the bone 
rather than touch one penny of that estate." 

"Oh, why — why, Hesden, should she do that? Just to shield my 
father's name?" 

"Not alone for that," said Hesden. "Partly to show that she 
can give you pride for pride, mother." 

"Do you think so, Hesden?" 

"I am sure of it." 

"Will you promise me one thing?" 

"Whatever you shall ask." 

"Do not write to her, nor in any way communicate with her, 
except at my request." 

"As you wish." 



56 • Some Old Letters 



Red Wing, Saturday, Feb. i^, 18 j 3. 
Miss Mollie Ainslie: 

I avail myself of your kind permission to address you a letter 
through Captain Pardee, to whom I will forward this to-morrow. I 
would have written to you before, because I knew you must be 
anxious to learn how things are at this place, where you labored so 
long; but I was very busy — and, to tell you the truth, I felt some- 



I 



Some Old Letters 389 

what hurt that you should withhold from me for so long a time the 
knowledge even of where you were. It is true, I have known that you 
were somewhere in Kansas; but I could see no reason why you 
should not wish it to be known exactly where; nor can I now. I was 
so foolish as to think, at first, that it was because you did not wish 
the people where you now live to know that you had ever been a 
teacher in a colored school. 

When I returned here, however, and learned something of your 
kindness to our people — how you had saved the property of my dear 
lost brother Nimbus, and provided for his wife and children, and 
the wife and children of poor Berry, and so many others of those 
who once lived at Red Wing; and when I heard Captain Pardee read 
one of your letters to our people, saying that you had not forgotten 
us, I was ashamed that I had ever had such a thought. I know that 
you must have some good reason, and will never seek to know more 
than you may choose to tell me in regard to it. You may think it 
strange that I should have had this feeling at all; but you must 
remember that people afflicted as I am become very sensitive — ^mor- 
bid, perhaps — and are very apt to be influenced by mere imagina- 
tion rather than by reason. 

After completing my course at the college, for which I can never 
be sufficiently grateful to Mr. Hesden, I thought at first that I would 
write to you and see if I could not obtain work among some of my 
people in the West. Before I concluded to do so, however, the 
President of the college showed me a letter asking him to recom- 
mend some one for a colored school in one of the Northern States. 
He said he would be willing to recommend me for that position. Of 
course I felt very grateful to him, and very proud of the confidence 
he showed in my poor ability. Before I had accepted, however, I 
received a letter from Mr. Hesden, saying that he had rebuilt the 
school-house at Red Wing, that the same kind people who furnished 
it before had furnished it again, and that he wished the school to be 
re-opened, and desired me to come back and teach here. At first I 
thought I could not come; for the memory of that terrible night — 
the last night that I was here — came before me whenever I thought 
of it; and I was so weak as to think I could not ever come here 
again. Then I thought of Mr. Hesden, and all that he had done for 
me, and felt that I would be making a very bad return for his 
kindness should I refuse any request he might make. So I came, and 
am very glad that I did. 



39° Bricks Without Straw 

It does not seem like the old Red Wing, Miss Mollie. There are 
not near so many people here, and the school is small in comparison 
with what it used to be. Somehow the life and hope seem to have 
gone out of our people, and they do not look forward to the future 
with that confident expectation which they used to have. It reminds I 
me very much of the dull, plodding hopelessness of the old slave I 
time. It is true, they are no longer subject to the terrible cruelties 
which were for a while visited upon them; but they feel, as they did 
in the old time, that their rights are withheld from them, and they 
see no hope of regaining them. With their own poverty and igno- i 
ranee and the prejudices of the white people to contend with, it does 
indeed seem a hopeless task for them to attempt to be anything 
more, or anything better, than they are now. I am even surprised 
that they do not go backward instead of forward under the diffi- 
culties they have to encounter. 

I am learning to be more charitable than I used to be. Miss 
Mollie, or ever would have been had I not returned here. It seems to 
me now that the white people are not so much to be blamed for 
what has been done and suffered since the war, as pitied for that 
prejudice which has made them unconsciously almost as much slaves 
as my people were before the war. I see, too, that these things cannot 
be remedied at once. It will be a long, sad time of waiting, which I 
fear our people will not endure as well as they did the tiresome 
waiting for freedom. I used to think that the law could give us our 
rights and make us free. I now see, more clearly than ever before, 
that we must not only make ourselves free, but must overcome all 
that prejudice which slavery created against our race in the hearts of 
the white people. It is a long way to look ahead, and I don't wonder 
that so many despair of its ever being accomplished. I know it can 
only be done through the attainment of knowledge and the power 
which that gives. 

I do not blame for giving way to despair those who are laboring 
for a mere pittance, and perhaps not receiving that; who have wives 
and children to support, and see their children growing up as poor 
and ignorant as themselves. If I were one of those, Miss Mollie, and 
whole and sound, I wouldn't stay in this country another day. I 
would go somewhere where my children would have a chance to 
learn what it is to be free, whatever hardship I might have to face in 
doing so, for their sake. But I know that they cannot go — at least 



Some Old Letters 391 

not all of them, nor many of them; and I think the Lord has dealt 
with me as he has in order that I might be willing to stay here and 
help them, and share with them the blessed knowledge which kind 
friends have given to me. 

Mr. Hesden comes over to see the school very often, and is very 
much interested in it. I have been over to Mulberry Hill once, and 
saw the dear old 'Mistress.' She has failed a great deal, Miss Mollie, 
and it does seem as if her life of pain was drawing to an end. She 
was very kind to me, asked all about my studies, how I was getting 
on, and inquired very kindly of you. She seemed very much sur- 
prised when I told her that I did not know where you were, only 
that you were in the West. It is no wonder that she looks worn and 
troubled, for Mr. Hesden has certainly had a hard time. I do not 
think it is as bad now as it has been, and some of the white people, 
even, say that he has been badly treated. But, Miss Mollie, you can't 
imagine the abuse he has had to suffer because he befriended me, 
; and is what they call a 'Radical.' 

There is one thing that I cannot understand. I can see why the 
white people of the South should be so angry about colored people 
i being allowed to vote. I can understand, too, why they should abuse 
|! Mr. Hesden, and the few like him, because they wish to see the 
; colored people have their rights and become capable of exercising 
,1 them. It is because they have always believed that we are an inferior 
.1 race, and think that the attempt to elevate us is intended to drag 
t them down. But I cannot see why the people of the North should 
I think so ill of such men as Mr. Hesden. It would be a disgrace for 
^1 any man there to say that he was opposed to the colored man having 
,: the rights of a citizen, or having a fair show in any manner. But they 
j seem to think that if a man living at the South advocates those 
^ rights, or says a word in our favor, he is a low-down, mean man. If 
} we had a few men like Mr. Hesden in every county, I think it would 
•A soon be better; but if it takes as long to get each one as it has to get 
5I him, I am afraid a good many generations will live and die before 
.,,1 that good time will come. 

,; I meant to have said more about the school. Miss Mollie; but I 
\\ have written so much that I will wait until the next time for that. 
- Hoping that you will have time to write to me, I remain 

Your very grateful pupil, 

Eliab Hill. 



392 Bricks Without Straw 

II 

Mulberry Hill, Wednesday, March 5, 1873. 
Miss Mollis Ainslie: 

Through the kindness of our good friend, Captain Pardee, I send 
you this letter, together with an instrument, the date of which you 
will observe is the same as that of my former letter. You will see 
that I have regarded myself only as a trustee and a beneficiary, 
during life, of your self-denying generosity. The day after I received 
your gift, I gave the plantation back to you, reserving only the 
pleasing privilege of holding it as my own while I lived. The 
opportunity which I then hoped might some time come has now 
arrived. I can write to you now without constraint or bitterness. My 
pride has not gone; but I am proud of you, as a relative proud as 
myself, and far braver and more resolute than I have ever been. 

My end is near, and I am anxious to see you once more. The dear 
old plantation is just putting on its spring garment of beauty. Will 
you not come and look upon your gift in its glory, and gladden the 
heart of an old woman whose eyes long to look upon your face 
before they see the brightness of the upper world? 

Come, and let me say to the people of Horsford that you are one 
of us — a Richards worthier than the worthiest they have known! 

Yours, with sincerest love, 
Hester Richards Le Moyne. 

P.S. — I ought to say that, although Hesden is one of the witnesses 
to my will, he knows nothing of its contents. He does not know that 
I have written to you, but I am sure he will be glad to see you. 

H. R. Le M. 

Ill 

Mrs. Le Moyne received the following letter in reply: 

March 15, 1873. 
My dear Mrs. Le Moyne: 

Your letter gave me far greater pleasure than you can imagine. 
But you give me much more credit for doing what I did than I have 
any right to receive. While I know that I would do the same now, to 
give you pleasure and save you pain, as readily as I did it then from 
a worse motive, I must confess to you that I did it, almost solely I 
fear, to show you that a Yankee girl, even though a teacher of a 



Some Old Letters 393 

colored school, could be as proud as a Southern lady. I did it to 
humiliate you. Please forgive me; but it is true, and I cannot bear to 
receive your praise for what really deserves censure. I have been 
ashamed of myself very many times for this unworthy motive for an 
act which was in itself a good one, but which I am glad to have 
done, even so unworthily. 

I thank you for your love, which I hope I may better deserve 
hereafter. I inclose the paper which you sent me, and hope you will 
destroy it at once. I could not take the property you have so kindly 
devised to me, and you can readily see what trouble I should have in 
bestowing it where it should descend as an inheritance. 

Do not think that I need it at all. I had a few thousands which I 
invested in the great West when I left the South, three years ago, in 
order to aid those poor colored people at Red Wing, whose suflfer- 
ings appealed so strongly to my sympathies. By good fortune a 
railroad has come near me, a town has been built up near by and 
grown into a city, as in a moment, so that my venture has been 
blessed; and though I have given away some, the remainder has 
increased in value until I feel myself almost rich. My life has been 
very pleasant, and I hope not altogether useless to others. 

I am sorry that I cannot do as you wish. I know that you will 

believe that I do not now act from any unworthy motive, or from 

any lack of appreciation of your kindness, or doubt of your sincerity. 

Thanking you again for your kind words and hearty though unde- 

; served praises, I remain, 

j: Yours very truly, 

I MOLLIE AiNSLIE. 

"Hesden," said Mrs. Le Moyne to her son, as he sat by her 
I bedside while she read this letter, "will you not write to Miss 
/ Ainslie?" 

"What!" said he, looking up from his book in surprise. "Do 
j)i you mean it?" 

I "Indeed I do, my son," she answered, with a glance of tender- 
l"! ness. "I tried to prepare you a surprise, and wrote for her to come 
J and visit us; but she will not come at my request. I am afraid you 
[, are the only one who can overcome her stubbornness." 

"I fear that I should have no better success," he answered. 

Nevertheless, he went to his desk, and, laying out some paper, 



394 Bricks Without Straw 

he placed upon it, to hold it in place while he wrote, a great 
black hoof with a silver shoe, bearing on the band about its 
crown the word "Midnight." After many attempts he wrote as 
follows: 

Miss Mollie Ainslie: 

Will you permit me to come and see you, upon the conditions 
imposed when I saw you last? 

Hesden Le Moyne. 

IV 

While Hesden waited for an answer to this letter, which had 
been forwarded through Captain Pardee, he received one from 
Jordan Jackson. It was somewhat badly spelled, but he made it 
out to be as follows: 

EUPOLIA, Kansas, Sunday, March 23, 1873. 
My dear Le Moyne: 

I have been intending to write to you for a long time, but have 
been too busy. You never saw such a busy country as this. It just 
took me off my legs when I first came out here. I thought I knew 
what it meant to "git up and git.' Nobody ever counted me hard to 
start or slow to move, down in that country; but here — God bless 
you, Le Moyne, I found I wasn't half awake! Work.^ Lord! Lord! 
how these folks do work and tear around! It don't seem so very hard 
either, because when they have anything to do they don't do nothing 
else, and when have nothing to do they make a business of that, 
too. 

Then, they use all sorts of machinery, and never do anything by 
hand-power that a horse can be made to do, in any possible way. 
The horses do all the ploughing, sowing, hoeing, harvesting, and, in 
fact, pretty much all the farm-work; while the man sits up on a 
sulky-seat and fans himself with a palm-leaf hat. So that, according 
to my reckoning, one man here counts for about as much as four in 
our country. 

I have moved from where I first settled, which was in a county 
adjoining this. I found that my notion of just getting a plantation to 
settle down on, where I could make a living and be out of harm's 
way, wasn't the thing for this country, nohow. A man who comes 



Some Old Letters 395 

here must pitch in and count for all he's worth. It's a regular 
ground-scuffle, open to all, and everybody choosing his own hold. 
Morning, noon, and night the world is awake and alive; and if a 
man isn't awake too, it tramps on right over him and wipes him out, 
just as a stampeded buffalo herd goes over a hunter's camp. 

Everybody is good-natured and in dead earnest. Every one that 
comes is welcome, and no questions asked. Kin and kin-in-law don't 
count worth a cuss. Nobody stops to ask where you come from, 
what's your politics, or whether you've got any religion. They don't 
care, if you only mean 'business.' They don't make no fuss over 
nobody. There ain't much of what we call 'hospitality' at the South, 
making a grand flourish and a big lay-out over anybody; but they 
just take it, as a matter of course, that you are all right and square 
and honest, and as good as anybody till you show up different. There 
ain't any big folks nor any little ones. Of course, there are rich folks 
and poor ones, but the poor are just as respectable as the rich, feel 
just as big, and take up just as much of the road. There ain't any 
crawling nor cringing here. Everybody stands up straight, and don't 
give nor take any sass from anybody else. The West takes right hold 
of every one that comes into it and makes him a part of itself, 
instead of keeping him outside in the cold to all eternity, as the 
South does the strangers who go there. 

I don't knew as you'd like it; but if any one who has been kept 
down and put on, as poor men are at the South, can muster pluck 
lenough to get away and come here, he'll think he's been born over 
tagain, or I'm mistaken. Nobody asks your politics. I don't reckon 
-anybody knew mine for a year. "The fact is, we're all too busy to fuss 
'with our neighbors or cuss them about their opinions. I've heard 
imore politics in a country store in Horsford in a day than I've heard 
iiere in Eupolia in a year — and we've got ten thousand people here, 
11:00. I moved here last year, and am doing well. I wouldn't go back 
'imd live in that d — d hornet's nest that I felt so bad about leaving — 
i-)iot for the whole State, with a slice of the next one throwed in. 
' I've meant to tell you, a half dozen times, about that little Yankee 
'jal that used to be at Red Wing; but I've been half afraid to, for 
ear you would get mad about it. My wife said that when she came 
fiWay there was a heap of talk about you being sorter 'sweet' on the 
■ ligger-school-marm.' I knew that she was sick at your house when I 
' /as there, and so, putting the two together, I 'llowed that for once 
^lere might be some truth in a Horsford rumor. I reckon it must 



396 Bricks Without Straw 

have been a lie, though; or else she 'kicked' you, which she wouldn't 
stand a speck about doing, even if you were the President, if you 
didn't come up to her notion. It's a mighty high notion, too, let me 
tell you; and the man that gits up to it '11 have to climb. Bet your 
life on that! 

But that's all no matter. I reckon you'll be glad to know how she's 
gettin' on out here, anyhow. She come here not a great while after I 
did; but, bless your stars, she wasn't as green as I, not by any manner 
of means. She didn't want to hide out in a quiet part of the country, 
where the world didn't turn around but once in two days. No, sir! 
She was keen — just as keen as a razor-blade. She run her eye over the 
map and got inside the railroad projects somehow, blessed if I know 
how; and then she just went off fifty miles out of the track others 
was taking, and bought up all the land she could pay for, and got 
trusted for all the credit that that brought her; and here she is now, 
with Eupolia building right up on her land, and just a-busting up 
her quarter-sections into city lots, day after day, till you can't rest. 

Just think on't, Moyne! It's only three years ago and she was 
teaching a nigger school, there in Red Wing; and now, God bless 
you, here she is, just a queen in a city that wasn't nowhere then. I 
tell you, she's a team! Just as proud as Lucifer, and as wide-awake as 
a hornet in July. She beats anything I ever did see. She's given away 
enough to make two or three, and I'll be hanged if it don't seem to 
me that every cent she gives just brings her in a dollar. The people 
here just worship her, as they have a good right to; but she ain't a 
bit stuck up. She's got a whole lot of them Red Wing niggers here, 
and has settled them down and put them to work, and made them 
get on past all expectation. She just tells right out about her having 
taught a nigger school down in Horsford, and nobody seems to 
think a word on't. In fact, I b'lieve they rather like her better for 
it. 

I heard about her soon after she came here, but, to tell the truth, I 
thought I was a little better than a 'nigger-teacher,' if I was in , 
Kansas. So I didn't mind anything about her till Eupolia began to 
grow, and I came to think about going into trading again. Then I 
came over, just to look around, you know. I went to see the little 
lady, feeling mighty 'shamed, you may bet, and more than half of 
the notion that she wouldn't care about owning that she'd ever seen 
me before. But, Lord love you! I needn't have had any fear about 
that. Nobody ever had a heartier welcome than she gave me, until 



I 



Some Old Letters 397 

she found that I had been living only fifty miles away for a year and 
hadn't let her know. Then she come down on me — ^Whew! I 
thought there was going to be a blizzard, sure enough. 

"Jordan Jackson," said she, "you just go home and bring that wife 
and them children here, where they can see something and have a 
rest." 

I had to do it, and they just took to staying in Eupolia here nigh 
about all the time. So I thought I might as well come too; and here I 
am, doing right well, and would be mighty glad to see an old friend 
if you could make up your mind to come this way. We are all well, 
and remember you as the kindest of all old friends in our time of 
need. 

I never wrote as long a letter as this before, and never 'llow to do 
it again. 

Your true friend, 

Jordan Jackson. 



In due time there came to Hesden Le Moyne an envelope, 

containing only a quaintly-shaped card, which looked as if it had 

! been cut from the bark of a brown-birch tree. On one side was 

I printed, in delicate script characters, 
j "Miss Mollie AinsUe, 

s Eupolia, 

\ Kansas." 

} On the other was written one word: 

\ "Come." 

j A bride came to Mulberry Hill with the May roses, and when 
[\Mrs. Le Moyne had kissed her who knelt beside her chair for a 

I I maternal benison, she placed a hand on either burning cheek, 
^land, holding the face at arm's length, said, with that archness 
i;' which never forsook her, ""What am I to do about the old 
s plantation? Hesden refused to be my heir, and you refuse to be 
P my devisee; must I give it to the poor?" 

The summer bloomed and fruited; the autumn glowed and 



398 Bricks Without Straw 

faded; and peace and happiness dwelt at Red Wing. But when 
the Christmas came, wreaths of immortelles lay upon a coffin in 
"Mother's Room," and Hesden and Mollie dropped their tears 
upon the sweet, pale face within. 

So Hesden and Mollie dwelt at Red Wing. The heirs of "Red 
Jim" had their own, and the children of "Black Jim" were not 
dispossessed. 



57 • A Sweet and Bitter Fruitage 



The charms of the soft, luxurious climate were peculiarly 
grateful to Mollie after the harshness of the Kansas winter and 
the sultry summer winds that swept over the heated plains. There 
was something, too, very pleasant in renewing her associations 
with that region in a relation so different from that under which 
she had formerly known it. As the teacher at Red Wing, her life 
had not been wholly unpleasant; but that which had made it 
pleasant had proceeded from herself and not from others. The 
associations which she then formed had been those of kindly 
charity — the affection which one has for the objects of sympa- 
thetic care. So far as the world in which she now lived was 
concerned — the white world and white people of Horsford — she 
had known nothing of them, nor they of her, but each had 
regarded the other as a curious study. Their life had been shut 
out from her, and her life had been a matter that did not interest 
them. She had wondered that they did not think and feel as she 
did with regard to the colored people; and they, that any one 
having a white skin and the form of woman should come a 



A Sweet and Bitter Fruitage 399 

thousand miles to become a servant of servants. The most chari- 
table among them had deemed her a fool; the less charitable, a 
monster. 

In the few points of contact which she had with them person- 
ally, she had found them pleasant. In the few relations which 
they held toward the colored people, and toward her as their 
friend, she had found them brutal and hateful beyond her power 
to conceive. Then, her life had been with those for whom she 
labored, so far as it was in or of the South at all. They had been 
the objects of her thought, her interest, and her care. Their 
wrongs had entered into her life, and had been the motive of her 
removal to the West. Out of these conditions, by a curious 
evolution, had grown a new life, which she vainly tried to graft 
upon the old without apparent disjointure. 

Now, by kinship and by marriage, she belonged to one of the 

most respectable families of the region. It was true that Hesden 

had sullied his family name by becoming a Radical; but as he 

had never sought official position, nor taken any active part in 

enforcing or promulgating the opinions which he held; had, in 

i fact, identified himself with the party of odious principles only 

I for the protection of the victims of persecution or the assertion of 

I the rights of the weak — he was regarded with much more tolera- 

1 tion and forbearance than would otherwise have been displayed 

' toward him. 

In addition to this, extravagant rumors came into the good 
['( county of Horsford respecting the wealth which Mollie Ainslie 
^'1 had acquired, and of the pluck and enterprise which she had 
;-( displayed in the far West. It was thought very characteristic of 
M the brave young teacher of Red Wing, only her courage was 
j5( displayed there in a different manner. So they took a sort of pride 
^ in her, as if she had been one of themselves; and as they told to 
- each other the story of her success, they said, "Ah, I knew she 
• would make her mark! Any girl that had her pluck was too good 
' to remain a nigger-teacher long. It was lucky for Hesden, 



400 Bricks Without Straw 

though. By George! he made his Radicahsm pay, didn't he? 
Well, well; as long as he don't trouble anybody, I don't see why 
we should not be friends with him — if he is a Radical." So they 
determined that they would patronize and encourage Hesden Le 
Moyne and his wife, in the hope that he might be won back to 
his original excellence, and that she might be charmed with the 
attractions of Southern society and forget the bias of her Yankee 
origin. 

The occupants of Mulberry Hill, therefore, received much 
attention, and before the death of Hesden's mother had become 
prime favorites in the society of Horsford. It is true that now and 
then they met with some exhibition of the spirit which had 
existed before, but in the main their social life was pleasant; and, 
for a considerable time, Hesden felt that he had quite regained 
his original status as a "Southern gentleman," while Mollie won- 
dered if it were possible that the people whom she now met upon 
such pleasant terms were those who had, by their acts of violence, 
painted upon her memory such horrible and vivid pictures. She 
began to feel as if she had done them wrong, and sought by 
every means in her power to identify herself with their pleasures 
and their interests. 

At the same time, she did not forget those for whom she had 
before labored, and who had shown for her such true and 
devoted friendship. The school at Red Wing was an especial 
object of her care and attention. Rarely did a week pass that her 
carriage did not show itself in the little hamlet, and her bright 
face and cheerful tones brought encouragement and hope to all 
that dwelt there. Having learned from Hesden and Eliab the 
facts with regard to the disappearance of Nimbus, she for a long 
time shared Lugena's faith in regard to her husband, and had not 
yet given up hope that he was alive. Indeed, she had taken 
measures to discover his whereabouts; but all these had failed. 
Still, she would not abandon the hope that he would some time 
reappear, knowing how difficult it was to trace one altogether 



A Sweet and Bitter Fruitage 401 

unnoted by any except his own race, who were not accustomed to 
be careful or inquisitive with regard to the previous life of their 
fellows. 

Acting as his trustee, not by any specific authority, but through 
mere good-will, Hesden had managed the property, since the 
conclusion of the Winburn suit, so as to yield a revenue, which 
Lugena had carefully applied to secure a home in the West, in 
anticipation of her husband's return. This had necessarily 
brought him into close relations with the people of Red Wing, 
who had welcomed Mollie with an interest half proprietary in its 
character. Was she not their Miss Mollie? Had she not lived in 
the old "Or'nary," taught in their school, advised, encouraged, 
and helped them? They flocked around her, each reminding her 
of his identity by recalling some scene or incident of her past life, 
or saying, with evident pride, "Miss Mollie, I was one of your 
scholars — I was." 

She did not repel their approaches, nor deny their claim to her 
attention. She recognized it as a duty that she should still minis- 
ter to their wants, and do what she could for their elevation. 
And, strangely enough, the good people of Horsford did not 
rebel nor cast her off for so doing. The rich wife of Hesden Le 
;j Moyne, the queen of the growing Kansas town, driving in her 
|( carriage to the colored school-house, and sitting as lady patroness 
1 upon the platform, was an entirely different personage, in their 
\ eyes, from the Yankee girl who rode Midnight up and down the 
i narrow streets, and who wielded the pedagogic sceptre in the log 
!s school-house that Nimbus had built. She could be allowed to 
;f patronize the colored school; indeed, they rather admired her for 
r; doing so, and a few of them now and then went with her, 
' especially on occasions of public interest, and wondered at the 
i: progress that had been made by that race whose capacity they 
j, had always denied. 

H Every autumn Hesden and Mollie went to visit her Kansas 
ill home, to look after her interests there, help and advise her 



402 Bricks Without Straw 

colored proteges, breathe the free air, and gather into their lives 
something of the busy, bustling spirit of the great North. The 
contrast did them good. Hesden's ideas were made broader and 
fuller; her heart was reinvigorated; and both returned to their 
Southern home full of hope and aspiration for its future. 

So time wore on, and they almost forgot that they held their 
places in the life which was about them by sufferance and not of 
right; that they were allowed the privilege of associating with 
the "best people of Horsford," not because they were of them, or 
entitled to such privilege, but solely upon condition that they 
should submit themselves willingly to its views, and do nothing 
or attempt nothing to subvert its prejudices. 

Since the county had been "redeemed" it had been at peace. 
The vast colored majority, once overcome, had been easily held 
in subjection. There was no longer any violence, and little show 
of coercion, so far as their political rights were concerned. At first 
it was thought necessary to discourage the eagerness with which 
they sought to exercise the elective franchise, by frequent refer- 
ence to the evils which had already resulted therefrom. Now and 
then, when some ambitious colored man had endeavored to 
organize his people and to secure political advancement through 
their suffrages, he had been politely cautioned in regard to the 
danger, and the fate which had overwhelmed others was gently 
recalled to his memory. For a while, too, employers thought it 
necessary to exercise the power which their relations with de- 
pendent laborers gave them, to prevent the neglect of agricul- 
tural interests for the pursuit of political knowledge, and espe- 
cially to prevent absence from the plantation upon the day of 
election. After a time, however, it was found that such care was 
unnecessary. The laws of the State, carefully revised by legisla- 
tors wisely chosen for that purpose, had taken the power from 
the irresponsible hands of the masses, and placed it in the hands 
of the few, who had been wont to exercise it in the olden time. 

That vicious idea which had first grown up on the inclement 



A Sweet and Bitter Fruitage 403 

shores of Massachusetts Bay, and had been nourished and pro- 
tected and spread abroad throughout the North and West as the 
richest heritage which sterile New England could give to the 
states her sons had planted; that outgrowth of absurd and fanati- 
cal ideas which had made the North free, and whose absence had 
enabled the South to remain "slave" — the township system, with 
its free discussion of all matters, even of the most trivial interest 
to the inhabitants; that nursery of political virtue and individual 
independence of character, comporting, as it did, very badly with 
the social and political ideas of the South — this system was swept 
away, or, if retained in name, was deprived of all its characteristic 
elements. 

In the foolish fever of the reconstruction era this system had 
been spread over the South as the safeguard of the new ideas and 
new institutions then introduced. It was foolishly believed that it 
would produce upon the soil of the South the same beneficent 
results as had crowned its career at the North. So the counties 
were subdivided into small self-governing communities, every 
resident in which was entitled to a voice in the management of 
its domestic interests. Trustees and school commissioners and 
justices of the peace and constables were elected in these town- 
ships by the vote of the inhabitants. The roads and bridges and 
other matters of municipal finance were put directly under the 
control of the inhabitants of these miniature boroughs. Massa- 
chusetts was superimposed upon South Carolina. That system 
which had contributed more than all else to the prosperity, 
freedom, and intelligence of the Northern community was in- 
voked by the political theorists of the reconstruction era as a 
means of like improvement there. It did not seem a dangerous 
experiment. One would naturally expect similar results from the 
same system in different sections, even though it had not been 
specifically calculated for both latitudes. Especially did this view 
seem natural, when it was remembered that wherever the town- 
ship system had existed in any fullness or perfection, there 



404 Bricks Without Straw 

slavery had withered and died without the scath of war; that 
wherever in all our bright land the township system had ob- 
tained a foothold and reached mature development, there intel- 
ligence and prosperity grew side by side; and that wherever this 
system had not prevailed, slavery had grown rank and luxuriant, 
ignorance had settled upon the people, and poverty had brought 
its gaunt hand to crush the spirit of free men and establish the 
dominion of class. 

The astute politicians of the South saw at once the insane folly 
of this project. They knew that the system adapted to New 
England, the mainspring of Western prosperity, the safeguard of 
intelligence and freedom at the North, could not be adapted to 
the social and political elements of the South. They knew that 
the South had grown up a peculiar people; that for its govern- 
ment, in the changed state of affairs, must be devised a new and 
untried system of political organization, assimilated in every 
possible respect to the institutions which had formerly existed. It 
is true, those institutions and that form of government had been 
designed especially to promote and protect the interests of slav- 
ery and the power of caste. But they believed that the mere fact 
of emancipation did not at all change the necessary and essential 
relations between the various classes of her population, so far as 
her future development and prosperity were concerned. 

Therefore, immediately upon the "redemption" of these states 
from the enforced and sporadic political ideas of the reconstruc- 
tion era, they set themselves earnestly at work to root out and 
destroy all the pernicious elements of the township system, and 
to restore that organization by which the South had formerly 
achieved power and control in the national councils, had sup- 
pressed free thought and free speech, had degraded labor, encour- 
aged ignorance, and established aristocracy. The first step in this 
measure of counter-revolution and reform was to take from the 
inhabitants of the township the power of electing the officers, 
and to greatly curtail, where they did not destroy, the power of 



A Sweet and Bitter Fruitage 405 

such officers. It had been observed by these sagacious statesmen 
that in not a few instances incapable men had been chosen to 
administer the laws, as justices of the peace and as trustees of the 
various townships. Very often, no doubt, it happened that there 
was no one of sufficient capacity who would consent to act in 
such positions as the representatives of the majority. Sometimes, 
perhaps, incompetent and corrupt men had sought these places 
for their own advantage. School commissioners may have been 
chosen who were themselves unable to read. There may have 
been township trustees who had never yet shown sufficient enter- 
prise to become the owners of land, and legislators whose knowl- 
edge of law had been chiefly gained by frequent occupancy of the 
prisoner's dock. 

Such evils were not to be endured by a proud people, accus- 
tomed not only to self-control, but to the control of others. They 
did not stop to inquire whether there was more than one remedy 
for these evils. The system itself was attainted with the odor of 
Puritanism. It was communistic in its character, and struck at the 
very deepest roots of the social and political organization which 
had previously prevailed at the South. 

So it was changed. From and after that date it was solemnly 
enacted that either the Governor of the State or the prevailing 
party in the Legislature should appoint all the justices of the 
peace in and for the various counties; that these in turn should 
appoint in each of the subdivisions which had once been denomi- 
nated townships, or which had been clothed with the power of 
townships, school commissioners and trustees, judges of election 
and registrars of voters; and that in the various counties these 
chosen few, or the State Executive in their stead, should appoint 
the boards of commissioners, who were to control the county 
finances and have direction of all municipal affairs. 

Of course, in this counter-revolution there was not any idea of 
propagating or confirming the power of the political party insti- 
tuting it! It was done simply to protect the State against incom- 



4o6 Bricks Without Straw 

petent officials! The people were not wise enough to govern 
themselves, and could only become so by being wisely and 
beneficently governed by others, as in the ante-bellum era. From 
it, however, by a curious accident, resulted that complete control 
of the ballot and the ballot-box by a dominant minority so 
frequently observed in those states. Observe that the Legislature 
or the Executive appointed the justices of the peace; they in turn 
met in solemn conclave, a body of electors, taken wholly or in a 
great majority from the same party, and chose the commissioners 
of the county. These, again, a still more select body of electors, 
chose with the utmost care the trustees of the townships, the 
judges of election, and the registrars of voters. So that the utmost 
care was taken to secure entire harmony throughout the state. It 
mattered not how great the majority of the opposition in this 
county or in that; its governing officers were invariably chosen 
from the body of the minority. 

By these means a peculiar safeguard was also extended to the 
ballot. All the inspectors throughout the state being appointed 
by the same political power, were carefully chosen to secure the 
results of good government. Either all or a majority of every 
board were of the same political complexion, and, if need be, the 
remaining members, placed there in order that there should be 
no just ground of complaint upon the part of the opposition, 
were unfitted by nature or education for the performance of their 
duty. If not blind, they were usually profound strangers to the 
Cadmean mystery. Thus the registration of voters and the elec- 
tions were carefully devised to secure for all time the beneficent 
results of "redemption." It was found to be a very easy matter to 
allow the freedman to indulge, without let or hindrance, his 
wonderful eagerness for the exercise of ballotorial power, with- 
out injury to the public good. From and after that time elections 
became simply a harmless amusement. There was no longer any 
need of violence. The peaceful paths of legislation were found 
much more pleasant and agreeable, as well as less obnoxious to 



A Sweet and Bitter Fruitage 407 

the moral feelings of that portion of mankind who were so 
unfortunate as to dwell without the boundaries of these states. 

In order, however, to secure entire immunity from trouble or 

complaint, it was in many instances provided that the ballots 

should be destroyed as soon as counted, and the inspectors were 

sworn to execute this law. In other instances, it was provided, 

with tender care for the rights of the citizen, that if by any 

chance there should be found within the ballot-box at the close 

of an election any excess of votes over and above the number the 

tally-sheet should show to have exercised that privilege at that 

precinct, instead of the whole result being corrupted, and the 

voice of the people thereby stifled, one member of the board of 

inspectors should be blindfolded, and in that condition should 

draw from the box so many ballots as were in excess of the 

I number of voters, and that the result, whatever it might be, 

should be regarded and held as the voice of the people. By this 

means formal fraud was avoided, and the voice of the people 

t declared free from all legal objection. It is true that when the 

! ticket was printed upon very thin paper, in very small characters, 

and was very closely folded and the box duly shaken, the smaller 

i ballots found their way to the bottom, while the larger ones 

t remained upon the top; so that the blindfolded inspector very 

f naturally removed these and allowed the tissue ballots to remain 

iand be counted. It is true, also, that the actual will of the 

majority thus voting was thus not unfrequently overwhelmingly 

1 negatived. Yet this was the course prescribed by the law, and the 
I inspectors of elections were necessarily guiltless of fraud. 

j So it had been in Horsford. The colored majority had voted 
Uwhen they chose. The ballots had been carefully counted and the 
(result scrupulously ascertained and declared. Strangely enough, it 
was found that, whatever the number of votes cast, the majorities 
were quite different from those which the same voters had given 
in the days before the "redemption," while there did not seem to 
have been any great change in political sentiment. Perhaps half a 



4o8 Bricks Without Straw 

dozen colored voters in the county professed allegiance to the 
party which they had formerly opposed; but in the main the 
same line still separated the races. It was all, without question, 
the result of wise and patriotic legislation! 



58 • Coming to the Front 



In an evil hour Hesden Le Moyne yielded to the solicitations 
of those whom he had befriended, and whose rights he honestly 
believed had been unlawfully subverted, and became a candidate 
in his county. It had been so long since he had experienced the 
bitterness of persecution on account of his political proclivities, 
and the social relations of his family had been so pleasant, that 
he had almost forgotten what he had once passed through; or 
rather, he had come to believe that the time had gone by when 
such weapons would be employed against one of his social 
grade. 

The years of silence which had been imposed on him by a 
desire to avoid unnecessarily distressing his mother, had been 
years of thought, perhaps the richer and riper from the fact that 
he had refrained from active participation in political life. Like 
all his class at the South, he was, if not a politician by instinct, at 
least familiar from early boyhood with the subtle discussion of 
political subjects which is ever heard at the table and the fireside 
of the Southern gentleman. He had regarded the experiment of 
reconstruction, as he believed, with calm, unprejudiced sincerity; 
he had buried the past, and looked only to the future. It was not 



Coming to the Front 409 

for his own sake or interest that he became a candidate; he was 
content always to be what he was — a quiet country gentleman. 
He loved his home and his plantation; he thoroughly enjoyed the 
pursuits of agriculture, and had no desire to be or do any great 
thing. His mother's long illness had given him a love for a quiet 
life, his books and his fireside; and it was only because he 
thought that he could do something to reconcile the jarring 
factions and bring harmony out of discord, and lead his people to 
see that The Nation was greater and better than The South; that 
its interests and prosperity were also their interest, their prosper- 
ity, and their hope — that Hesden Le Moyne consented to forego 
the pleasant life which he was leading and undertake a brief 
voyage upon the stormy sea of politics. 

He did not expect that all would agree with him, but he 
believed that they would listen to him without prejudice and 
without anger. And he so fully believed in the conclusions he 
had arrived at that he thought no reasonable man could resist 
their force or avoid reaching a like result. His platform, as he 
called it, when he came to announce himself as a candidate at the 
Court House on the second day of the term of court, in accord- 
ance with immemorial custom in that county, was simply one of 
plain common-sense. He was not an office-holder or a politician. 
He did not come of an office-holding family, nor did he seek 
position or emolument. He offered himself for the suffrages of 
' his fellow-citizens simply because no other man among them 
- seemed willing to stand forth and advocate those principles 
which he believed to be right, expedient, and patriotic. 

He was a white man, he said, and had the prejudices and 
r feelings that were common to the white people of the South. He 
' had not believed in the right or the policy of secession, in which 
■ he differed from some of his neighbors; but when it came to the 
|ii decision of that question by force of arms he had yielded his 
^ conviction and stood side by side upon the field of battle with the 
' fiercest fire-eaters of the land. No man could accuse him of being 



4IO Bricks Without Straw 

remiss in any duty which he owed his State or section. But all 
that he insisted was past. There was no longer any distinct 
sectional interest or principle to be maintained. The sword had 
decided that, whether right or wrong as an abstraction, the 
doctrine of secession should never be practically asserted in the 
government. The result of the struggle had been to establish, 
beyond a peradventure, what had before been an unsettled ques- 
tion: that the Nation had the power and the will to protect itself 
against any disintegrating movement. It might not have decided 
what was the meaning of the Constitution, and so not deter- 
mined upon which side of this question lay the better reasoning; 
but it had settled the practical fact. This decision he accepted; he 
believed that they all accepted it — with only this difference, 
perhaps, that he believed it rendered necessary a change in many 
of the previous convictions of the Southern people. They had 
been accustomed to call themselves Southern men; after that, 
Americans. Hereafter it became their duty and their interest to be 
no longer Southern men, but Americans only. 

"Having these views," he continued, "it is my sincere convic- 
tion that we ought to accept, in spirit as well as in form, the 
results of this struggle; not in part, but fully." The first result 
had been the freeing of the slave. In the main he believed that 
had been accepted, if not cheerfully, at least finally. The next had 
been the enfranchisement of the colored man. This he insisted 
had not been honestly accepted by the mass of the white people 
of the South. Every means, lawful and unlawful, had been 
resorted to to prevent the due operation of these laws. He did not 
speak of this in anger or to blame. Knowing their prejudices and 
feelings, he could well excuse what had been done; but he 
insisted that it was not, and could not be, the part of an honest, 
brave and intelligent people to nullify or evade any portion of 
the law of the land. He did not mean that it was the duty of any 
man to submit without opposition to a law which he believed to 



Coming to the Front 411 

be wrong; but that opposition should never be manifested by 
unlawful violence, unmanly evasion, or cowardly fraud. 

He realized that, at first, anger might over-bear both patriot- 
ism and honor, under the sting of what was regarded as unparal- 
leled wrong, insult, and outrage; but there had been time enough 
for anger to cool, and for his people to look with calmness to the 
future that lay before, and let its hopes and duties overbalance 
the disappointments of the past. He freely admitted that had the 
question of reconstruction been submitted to him for determina- 
tion, he would not have adopted the plan which had prevailed; 
but since it had been adopted and become an integral part of the 
law of the land, he believed that whoever sought to evade its fair 
and unhindered operation placed himself in the position of a 
law-breaker. They had the right, undoubtedly, by fair and open 
opposition to defeat any party, and to secure the amendment or 
repeal of any law or system of laws. But they had no right to 
resist law with violence, or to evade law by fraud. 

The right of the colored man to exercise freely and openly his 

elective franchise, without threat, intimidation, or fear, was the 

same as that of the whitest man he addressed; and the violation 

of that right, or the deprivation of that privilege, was, really an 

assault upon the right and liberty of the white voter also. No 

rights were safe unless the people had that regard for law which 

would secure to the weakest and the humblest citizen the free 

and untrammeled enjoyment and exercise of every privilege 

which the law conferred. He characterized the laws that had 

1 been enacted in regard to the conduct of elections and the 

! selection of local officers as unmanly and shuffling — an assertion 

( of the right to nullify national law by fraud, which the South had 

1 failed to maintain by the sword, and had by her surrender 

1 virtually acknowledged herself in honor bound to abandon. 

He did not believe, he would not believe, that his countrymen 
k of the South, his white fellow-citizens of the good old county of 



412 Bricks Without Straw 

Horsford, had fairly and honestly considered the position in 
which recent events and legislation had placed them, not only 
before the eyes of the country, but of the civilized world. It had 
always been claimed, he said, that a white man is by nature and 
not merely by the adventitious circumstances of the past, innately 
and inherently, and he would almost add infinitely, the superior 
of the colored man. In intellectual culture, experience, habits of 
self-government and command, this was unquestionably true. 
Whether it were true as a natural and scientific fact was, perhaps, 
yet to be decided. But could it be possible that a people, a race 
priding itself upon its superiority, should be unwilling or afraid 
to see the experiment fairly tried? "Have we," he asked, "so little 
confidence in our moral and intellectual superiority that we dare 
not give the colored man an equal right with us to exercise the 
privilege which the Nation has conferred upon him? Are the 
white people of the South so poor in intellectual resources that 
they must resort to fraud or open violence to defeat the ignorant 
and weak colored man of even the least of his law-given 
rights? 

"We claim," he continued, "that he is ignorant. It is true. Are 
we afraid that he will grow wiser than we? We claim that he has 
not the capacity to acquire or receive a like intellectual develop- 
ment with ourselves. Are we afraid to give him a chance to do 
so? Could not intelligence cope with ignorance without fraud? 
Boasting that we could outrun our adversary, would we ham- 
string him at the starting-post? It was accounted by all men, in 
all ages, an unmanly thing to steal, and a yet more unmanly 
thing to steal from the weak; so that it has passed into a proverb, 
'Only a dog would steal the blind man's dinner.' And yet," he 
said, "we are willing to steal the vote of the ignorant, the blind, 
the helpless colored man!" 

It was not for the sake of the colored man, he said in conclu- 
sion, that he appealed to them to pause and think. It was because 
the honor, the nobility, the intelligence of the white man was 



Coming to the Front 413 

being degraded by the course which passion and resentment, and 
not reason or patriotism, had dictated. He appealed to his hearers 
as white men, not so much to give to the colored man the right 
to express his sentiments at the ballot-box, as to regard that right 
as sacred because it rested upon the law, which constituted the 
foundation and safeguard of their own rights. He would not 
appeal to them as Southern men, for he hoped the day was at 
hand when there would no more be any such distinction. But he 
would appeal to them as men — honest men, honorable men — 
and as American citizens, to honor the law and thereby honor 
themselves. 

It had been said that the best and surest way to secure the 
repeal of a bad law was first to secure its unhindered operation. 
Especially was this true of a people who had boasted of unparal- 
leled devotion to principle, of unbounded honor, and of the 
highest chivalry. How one of them, or all of them, could claim 
any of these attributes of which they had so long boasted, and yet 
be privy to depriving even a single colored man of the right 
which the Nation had given him, or to making the exercise of 
that right a mockery, he could not conceive; and he would not 
believe that they would do it when once the scales of prejudice 
and resentment had fallen from their eyes. If they had been 
wronged and outraged as a people, their only fit revenge was to 
display a manhood and a magnanimity which should attest the 
superiority upon which they prided themselves. 

' This address was received by his white hearers with surprised 
.; silence; by the colored men with half-appreciative cheers. They 

recognized that the speaker was their friend, and in favor of their 
, being allowed the free exercise of the rights of citizenship. His 

white auditors saw that he was assailing with some bitterness and 
■ earnest indignation both their conduct and what they had been 
' accustomed to term their principles. There was no immediate 

display of hostility or anger; and Hesden Le Moyne returned to 



414 Bricks Without Straw 

his home full of hope that the time was at hand for which he had 
so long yearned, when the people of his native South should 
abandon the career of prejudice and violence into which they had 
been betrayed by resentment and passion. 

Early the next morning some of his friends waited upon him 
and adjured him, for his own sake, for the sake of his family and 
friends, to withdraw from the canvass. This he refused to do. He 
said that what he advocated was the result of earnest conviction, 
and he should always despise himself should he abandon the 
course he had calmly decided to take. Whatever the result, he 
would continue to the end. Then they cautiously intimated to 
him that his course was fraught with personal danger, "What!" 
he cried, "do you expect me to flinch at the thought of danger? I 
offered my life and gave an arm for a cause in which I did not 
believe; shall I not brave as much in the endeavor to serve my 
country in a manner which my mind and conscience approve? I 
seek for difficulty with no one; but it may as well be understood 
that Hesden Le Moyne does not turn in his tracks because of any 
man's anger. I say to you plainly that I shall neither offer 
personal insult nor submit to it in this canvass." 

His friends left him with heavy hearts, for they foreboded ill. 
It was not many days before he found that the storm of detrac- 
tion and contumely through which he had once passed was but a 
gentle shower compared with the tornado which now came down 
upon his head. The newspapers overflowed with threat, denunci- 
ation, and abuse. One of them declared: 

The man who thinks that he can lead an opposition against the 
organized Democracy of Horsford County is not only very presump- 
tuous, but extremely bold. Such a man will require a bodyguard of 
Democrats in his canvass and a Gibraltar in his rear on the day of 
the election. 

Another said: 

The Radical candidate would do well to take advice. The white 
men of the State desire a peaceful summer and autumn. They are 



Coming to the Front 415 

wearied of heated political strife. If they are forced to vigorous 
action it will be exceedingly vigorous, perhaps unpleasantly so. 
Those who cause the trouble will suffer most from it. Bear that in 
mind, persons colored and white-skinned. We reiterate our advice to 
the reflective and argumentative Radical leader, to be careful how he 
goes, and not stir up the animals too freely; they have teeth and 
claws. 

Still another said: 

Will our people suffer a covert danger to rankle in their midst 
until it gains strength to burst into an open enemy.'* Will they 
tamely submit while Hesden Le Moyne rallies the colored men to his 
standard and hands over Horsford to the enemy? Will they stand 
idly and supinely, and witness the consummation of such an infa- 
mous conspiracy? No! a thousand times. No! Awake! stir up your 
clubs; let the shout go up; put on your red shirts and let the ride 
begin. Let the young men take the van, or we shall be sold into 
political slavery. 

Another sounded the key-note of hostility in these words: 

Every white man who dares to avow himself a Radical should be 
promptly branded as the bitter and malignant enemy of the South; 
every man who presumes to aspire to office through Republican 
votes should be saturated with stench. As for the negroes, let them 
amuse themselves, if they will, by voting the Radical ticket. We 
1 have the count. We have a thousand good and true men in Horsford 
i whose brave ballots will be found equal to those of five thousand 
vile Radicals. 

One of his opponents, in a most virulent speech, called atten- 
ition to the example of a celebrated Confederate general. "He, 
[too," said the impassioned orator, "served the Confederacy as 
ibravely as Hesden Le Moyne, and far more ably. But he became 
"impregnated with the virus of Radicalism; he abandoned and 
betrayed the cause for which he fought; he deserted the Southern 
jtpeople in the hour of need and joined their enemies. He was 
loegged and implored not to persevere in his course, but he 
jidrifted on and on, and floundered deeper and deeper into the 



4i6 Bricks Without Straw 

mire, until he landed fast in the slough where he sticks to-day. 
And what has he gained? Scorn, ostracism, odium, ill-will — 
worse than all, the contempt of the men who stood by him in the 
shower of death and destruction. Let Hesden Le Moyne take 
warning by his example." 

And so it went on, day after day. Personal affront was stu- 
diously avoided, but in general terms he was held up to the scorn 
and contempt of all honest men as a renegade and a traitor. 
Those who had seemed his friends fell away from him; the home 
which had been crowded with pleasant associates was desolate, or 
frequented only by those who came to remonstrate or to 
threaten. He saw his mistake, but he knew that anger was worse 
than useless. He did not seek to enrage, but to convince. Failing 
in this, he simply performed the duty which he had undertaken, 
as he said he would do it — fearlessly, openly, and faithfully. 

The election came, and the result — was what he should have 
been wise enough to foresee. Nevertheless, it was a great and 
grievous disappointment to Hesden Le Moyne. Not that he cared 
about a seat in the Legislature; but it was a demonstration to him 
that in his estimate of the people of whom he had been so proud 
he had erred upon the side of charity. He had believed them 
better than they had shown themselves. The fair future which he 
had hoped was so near at hand seemed more remote than ever. 
His hope for his people and his State was crushed, and apprehen- 
sion of unspeakable evil in the future forced itself upon his 
heart. 



59 * The Shuttlecock of Fate 



""Marse Hesden, Marse Hesden!" There was a timorous rap 
upon the window of Hesden Le Moyne's sleeping-room in the 
middle of the night, and, waking, he heard his name called in a 
low, cautious voice. 

"Who is there?" he asked. 

"Sh — sh! Don't talk so loud, Marse Hesden. Please come out 
h'yer a minnit, won't yer?" 

The voice was evidently that of a colored man, and Hesden 
had no apprehension or hesitancy in complying with the request. 
In fact, his position as a recognized friend of the colored race had 
made such appeals to his kindness and protection by no means 
unusual. He rose at once, and stepped out upon the porch. He 
was absent for a little while, and when he returned his voice was 
full of emotion as he said to his wife, 

"Mollie, there is a man here who is hungry and weary. I do 
not wish the servants to know of his presence. Can you get him 
something to eat without making any stir?" 

"Why, what — " began Mollie. 

"It will be best not to stop for any questions," said Hesden 
hurriedly, as he lighted a lamp and, pouring some liquor into a 
glass, started to return. "Get whatever you can at once, and bring 
it to the room above. I will go and make up a fire." 

Mollie rose, and, throwing on a wrapper, proceeded to comply 
with her husband's request. But a few moments had elapsed 
when she went up the stairs bearing a well-laden tray. Her 
slippered feet made no noise, and when she reached the cham- 
ber-door she saw her husband kneeling before the fire, which was 
just beginning to burn brightly. The light shone also upon a 
colored man of powerful frame who sat upon a chair a little way 
back, his hat upon the floor beside him, his gray head inclined 
upon his breast, and his whole attitude indicating exhaustion. 

417 



41 8 Bricks Without Straw 

"Here it is, Hesden," she said quietly, as she stepped into the 
room. 

The colored man raised his head wearily as she spoke, and 
turned toward her a gaunt face half hidden by a gray, scraggly 
beard. No sooner did his eyes rest upon her than they opened 
wide in amazement. He sprang from his chair, put his hand to his 
head, as if to assure himself that he was not dreaming, and 
said, 

"What! — yer ain't — 'fore God it must be — Miss MoUie!" 

"Oh, Nimbus!" cried Mollie, with a shriek. Her face was pale 
as ashes, and she would have fallen had not Hesden sprang to 
her side and supported her v/ith his arm, while he said, 

"Hush! hush! You must not speak so loud. I did not expect 
you so soon or I would have told you." 

The colored man fell upon his knees, and gazed in wonder on 
the scene. 

"Oh, Marse Hesden!" he cried, "is it — can it be our Miss 
Mollie, or has Nimbus gone clean crazy wid de rest ob his 
misfortins?" 

"No, indeed!" said Hesden. "It is really Miss Mollie, only I 
have stolen her away from her old friends and made her 
mine." 

"There is no mistake about it Nimbus," said Mollie, as she 
extended her hand, which the colored man clasped in both his 
own and covered with tears and kisses, while he said, between his 
sobs, 

"T'ank God! T'ank God! Nimbus don't keer now! He ain't 
afeared ob nufl&n no mo', now he's seen de little angel dat use ter 
watch ober him, an' dat he's been a-dreamin' on all dese yeahs! 
Bress God, she's alive! Dar ain't no need ter ax fer 'Gena ner de 
little ones now; I knows dey's all right! Miss Mollie's done tuk 
keer o' dem, else she wouldn't be h'yer now. Bress de Lord, I sees 
de deah little lamb once mo'." 

"There, there!" said Mollie gently. "You must not talk any 



The Shuttlecock of Fate 419 

more now. I have brought you something to eat. You are tired 
and hungry. You must eat now. Everything is all right. 'Gena 
and the children are well, and have been looking for you every 
day since you went away." 

"Bress God! Bress God! I don't want nuffin' mo'!" said Nim- 
bus. He would have gone on, in a wild rhapsody of delight, but 
both Hesden and Mollie interposed and compelled him to desist 
and eat. Ah! it was a royal meal that the poor fugitive had spread 
before him. Mollie brought some milk, A cojffee-pot was placed 
upon the fire, and while he ate they told him of some of the 
changes that had taken place. When at length Hesden took him 
into the room where Eliab had remained concealed so long, and 
closed the door and locked it upon him, they could still hear the 
low tones of thankful prayer coming from within. Hesden 
knocked upon the door to enjoin silence, and they returned to 
their room, wondering at the Providence which had justified the 
faith of the long- widowed colored wife. 

The next day Hesden went to the Court House to ascertain 
what charges there were against Nimbus. He found there were 
none. The old prosecution for seducing the laborers of Mr. Sykes 
had long ago been discontinued. Strangely enough, no others had 
been instituted against him. For some reason the law had not 
been appealed to to avenge the injuries of the marauders who 
had devastated Red Wing. On his return, Hesden came by way 
of Red Wing and brought Eliab home with him. 

The meeting between the two old friends was very affecting. 
Since the disappearance of Nimbus, Eliab had grown more self- 
reliant. His two years and more of attendance at a Northern 
school had widened and deepened his manhood as well as in- 
creased his knowledge, and the charge of the school at Red Wing 
had completed the work there begun. His self-consciousness had 
diminished, and it no longer required the spur of intense excite- 
ment to make him forget his affliction. His last injuries had made 
him even more helpless, when separated from his rolling-chair, 



420 Bricks Without Straw 

but his life had been too full to enable him to dwell upon his 
weakness so constantly as formerly. 

In Nimbus there was a change even more apparent. Gray 
hairs, a bowed form, a furrowed face, and that sort of furtive 
wildness which characterizes the man long hunted by his ene- 
mies, had taken the place of his former unfearing, bull-fronted 
ruggedness. His spirit was broken. He no longer looked to the 
future with abounding hope, careless of its dangers. 

"Yer's growed away from me, Bre'er 'Liab," he said at length, 
when they had held each other's hands and looked into each 
other's faces for a long time. "Yer wouldn't know how ter take a 
holt o' Nimbus ter hev him tote yer roun', now. Yer's growed 
away from him — clean away," he added sadly. 

"You, too, have changed, Brother Nimbus," said Eliab sooth- 
ingly. 

"Yes, I'se changed, ob co'se; but not as you hez, Bre'er 'Liab. 
Dis h'yer ole shell hez changed. Nimbus couldn't tote yer roun' 
like he used. I'se hed a hard time — a hard time, 'Liab, an' I ain't 
nuffin' like de man I used ter be; but I hain't changed inside like 
you hez. I'se jes de same ole Nimbus dat I alius wuz — jes de 
same, only kinder broke down in sperrit, Bre'er 'Liab. I hain't 
growed ez you hev. I hain't no mo' man dan I was den — not so 
much, in fac'. I don't keer now no mo' 'bout what's a-gwine ter 
be. I'se an' ole man, 'Liab — an' ole man, ef I is young." 

That night he told his story to a breathless auditory. 

"Yes, Bre'er 'Liab, dar's a heap o' t'ings happened sence dat ar 
mornin' I lef you h'yer wid Marse Hesden. Yer see, I went back 
fust whar I'd lef Berry, an' we tuk an' druv de mule an' carry-all 
inter a big pine thicket, down by de ribber, an' dar we stays all 
day mighty close; only once, when I went out by de road an' sees 
Miss Mollie ridin' by. I calls out to her jest ez loud ez I dared to; 
but, la sakes! she didn't h'year me." 

"Was that you. Nimbus?" asked Mollie, turning from a 
bright-eyed successor to little Hildreth, whom she had been 



The Shuttlecock of Fate 421 

proudly caressing. "I thought I heard some one call me, but did 
not think of its being you. I am so sorry! I stopped and looked, 
but could see nothing." 

"No, you didn't see me, Miss Mollie, but it done me a power o' 
good ter see you. I knowed yer was gwine ter Red Wing, an' 
yer'd take keer on an' advise dem ez wuz left dar. Wal, dat night 
we went back an' got the 'backer out o' de barn. I tuk a look 
roun' de house, an' went ter de smoke-house, an' got a ham of 
meat an' some other t'ings. I 'llowed dat 'Gena'd know I'd been 
dar, but didn't dare ter say nuffin' ter nobody, fer fear de sheriff's 
folks mout be a watchin' roun'. I 'llowed dey'd hev out a warrant 
for me, an' p'raps fer Berry too, on account o' what we'd done de 
night afo'." 

"They never did," said Hesden. 
"Yer don't tell me!" exclaimed Nimbus, in surprise. 
"No. There has never been any criminal process against you, 
except for enticing Berry away from old Granville Sykes," said 
I Hesden. 

"Wal," responded Nimbus, "t'was all de same. I t'ought dey 
■ would. De udder wuz 'nough, dough. Ef dey could once cotch me 
( on dat, I reckon dey could hev hung me fer nuffin', fer dat 
t matter." 

"It was a very wise thing in you to leave the country," said 
) Hesden. "There is no doubt of that." 

i "T'ank ye, Marse Hesden, t'ank ye," said Nimbus. "I'se glad 
titer know I hain't been a fool alius, ef I is now. But now I t'inks 
ijon't, Marse Hesden, I'd like ter know what come of dem men dat 
I CGena an' me put our marks on dat night." 

} "One of them died a year or two afterward — was never well 
[lafter that night — and the other is here, alive and well, with a 
; ] queer seam down the middle of his face," said Hesden. 

"Died, yer say?" said Nimbus. "Wal, I'se right sorry, but he 
; lived a heap longer nor Bre'er 'Liab would, ef I hadn't come in 
;, jest about dat time." 



422 Bricks Without Straw 

"Yes, indeed," said Eliab, as he extended his hand to his old 
friend. 

"Wal," continued Nimbus, "we went on ter Wellsboro, an' 
dar we sold de 'backer. Den we kinder divided up. I tuk most o' 
de money an' went on South, an' Berry tuk de mule an' carry-all 
an' started fer his home in Hanson County, I tuk de cars an' went 
on, a-stoppin' at one place an' anodder, an' a wukkin' a little 
h'yer an' dar, but jest a-'spectin' ebbery minnit ter be gobbled up 
by a officer an' brought back h'yer. I'd heard dat Texas wu2 a 
good place fer dem ter go ter dat didn't want nobody ter find 
'em; so I sot out ter go dar. When I got ez fur ez Fairfax, in 
Louisiana, I was tuk down wid de fever, an' fer nigh 'bout six 
month I wa'ant ob no account whatebber. An' who yer tink tuk 
keer ob me den, Marse Hesden?" 

"I am sure I don't know," was the reply. 

"No, yer wouldn't nebber guess," said Nimbus; "but twa'n't 
nobody else but my old mammy, Lorency." 

"You don't say! Well, that was strange," said Hesden. 

"It was quare, Marse Hesden. She was gittin' on to be a old 
women den. She's dead sence. Yer see, she knowed me by my 
name, an' she tuk keer on me, else I'd nebber been here ter tell 
on't, Atter I got better like, she sorter persuaded me ter stay dar. 
I wuz powerful homesick, an' wanted ter h'year from 'Gena an' , 
de chillen, an' ef I'd hed money 'nough left, I'd a come straight 
back h'yer; but what with travellin' an' doctors' bills, an' de like, 
I hadn't nary cent. Den I couldn't leave my ole mammy, nuther. 
She'd hed a hard time sence de wah, a-wukkin' fer herself all 
alone, an' I wuz boun' ter help her all I could. I got a man to 
write ter Miss Mollie; but de letter come back sayin' she wa'n't 
h'yer no mo'. Den I got him to write ter whar she'd been afo' she 
come South; but that come back too." 

"Why did you not write to me?" said Hesden. 1 1 

"Wal," said Nimbus, with some confusion, "I wuz afeared ter 
do it, Marse Hesden, I wuz afeared yer mout hev turned agin me. 



The Shuttlecock of Fate 423 

I dunno why 'twuz, but I wuz mighty skeered ob enny white 
folks, 'ceptin' Miss Mollie h'yer. So I made it up wid mammy, dat 
we should wuk on till we'd got 'nough ter come back; an' den 
we'd come, an' I'd stop at some place what I wa'n't knowed, an' 
let her come h'yer an' see how t'ings wuz. 

"I'd jest about got ter dat pint, when I hed anodder pull-back. 

Yer see, dar wuz two men, both claimed ter be sheriff o' dat 

parish. Dat was — let me see, dat was jes de tenth yeah atter de 

S'render, fo' years atter I left h'yer. One on 'em, ez near ez I 

could make out, was app'inted by de Guv'ner, an' t'odder by a 

man dat claimed ter be Guv'ner. De fust one called on de cullu'd 

]men ter help him hold de Court House an' keep t'ings a-gwine 

)on right; an' de t'odder, he raised a little army an' come agin' us. 

I'd been a sojer, yer know, an' I t'ought I wuz bound ter stan' up 

(fer de guv'ment. So I went in ter fight wid de rest. We t'rew up 

fsome bres'wuks, an' when dey druv us outen dem we fell back 

inter de Court House. Den dar come a boat load o' white folks 

down from Sweevepo't, an' we hed a hard time a-fightin' on 'em. 

j.Lots ob us got killed, an' some o' dem. We hadn't many guns 

aer much ammunition. It war powerful hot, an' water wuz 

|1skeerce. 

L "So, atter a while, we sent a flag o' truce, an' 'greed ter s'render 
'bbberyting, on condition dat dey wouldn't hurt us no mo'. Jest ez 
quick ez we gib up dey tuk us all pris'ners. Dar was twenty-seb- 
'oen in de squad I wuz wid. 'Long a while atter dark, dey tuk us 
1 Dut an' marched us off, wid a guard on each side. We hadn't gone 
inore'n two or t'ree hundred yards afo' de guard begun ter shoot 
' It us. Dey hit me in t'ree places, an' I fell down an' rolled inter a 
Hitch by de roadside, kinder under de weeds like. Atter a while I 
')orter come ter myself an' crawled off fru de weeds ter de bushes. 
j Wex' day I got a chance ter send word ter mammy, an' she come 
jin' nussed me till we managed ter slip away from dar." 

"Poor Nimbus!" said Mollie, weeping. "You have had a hard 
" ime indeed! " 



424 Bricks Without Straw 

"Not so bad as de odders," was the reply. "Dar wuz only two 
on us dat got away at all. The rest wuz all killed." 

"Yes," said Hesden, "I remember that affair. It was a horrible 
thing. When will our Southern people learn wisdom!" 

"I dunno dat, Marse Hesden," said Nimbus, "but I do know 
dat de cullu'd folks is larnin' enough ter git outen dat. You jes 
mark my words, ef dese t'ings keep a-gwine on, niggers'll be 
skeerce in dis kentry purty soon. We can't be worse off, go whar 
we will, an' I jes count a cullu'd man a fool dat don't pole out an' 
git away jest ez soon ez he finds a road cut out dat he kin trabbel 
on." 

"But that was three years ago, Nimbus," said Hesden. "Where 
have you been since?" 

"Wal, yer see, atter dat," said Nimbus, "we wuz afeared ter 
stay dar any mo'. So we went ober inter Miss'ippi, mammy an' 
me, an' went ter wuk agin. I wasn't berry strong, but we wukked 
hard an' libbed hard ter git money ter come back wid. Mammy 
wuz powerful anxious ter git back h'yer afo' she died. We got 
along tollable-like, till de cotting wuz about all picked, an' 
hadn't drawed no wages at all, to speak on. Den, one day, de boss 
man on de plantation, he picked a quarrel wid mammy 'bout de 
wuk, an' presently hit her ober her ole gray head wid his cane. I 
couldn't Stan' dat, nohow, so I struck him, an' we hed a fight. I 
warn't nuffin' ter what I war once, but dar war a power 0' 
strength in me yet, ez he found out. 

"Dey tuk me up an' carried me ter jail, an' when de court 
come on, my ole mammy wuz dead; so I couldn't prove she war 
my mammy, an' I don't 'How 'twould hev made enny difference 
ef I had. The jury said I war guilty, an' de judge fined me a 
hundred dollars an' de costs, an' sed I wuz ter be hired out at 
auction ter pay de fine, an' costs, an' sech like. So I wuz auctioned 
off, an' brought twenty-five cents a day. 'Cordin' ter de law, I hed 
ter wuk two days ter make up my keep fer ebbery one I lost. I 
war sick an' low-sperrited, an' hadn't no heart ter wuk, so I lost a 



The Shuttlecock of Fate 425 

heap o' days. Den I run away once or twice, but dey cotch me, an' 
brought me back. So I kep' losin' time, an' didn't git clean away 
till 'bout four months ago. Sence den I'se been wukkin' my way 
back, jes dat skeery dat I dassent hardly walk de roads fer fear I'd 
be tuk up agin. But I felt jes like my ole mammy dat wanted ter 
come back h'yer ter die." 

"But you are not going to die," said Mollie, smiling through 
her tears. "Your plantation is all right. We will send for 'Gena 
and the children, and you and Eliab can live again at Red "Wing 
and be happy." 

"I don't want ter lib dar. Miss Mollie," said Nimbus. "I ain't 
a-gwine ter die, ez you say; but I don't want ter lib h'yer, ner 
don't want my chillen ter. I want 'em ter lib what dey kin be 
free, an' hev 'bout half a white man's chance, ennyhow." 
"But what about Red Wing?" asked Hesden. 
"I'd like ter see it once mo'," said the broken-hearted man, 
while the tears ran down his face. "I 'llowed once that I'd hab a 
i heap o' comfort dar in my ole days. But dat's all passed an' gone, 
now — ^passed an' gone! I'll tell yer what, Marse Hesden, I alius 
, 'llowed fer Bre'er 'Liab ter hev half o' dat plantation. Now yer 
I jes makes out de papers an' let him hev de whole on't, an' I goes 
] ter Kansas wid 'Gena." 

I "No, no. Nimbus," said Eliab; "I could not consent — " 
' "Yes yer kin, 'Liab," said Nimbus quickly, with some of his 
j ( old-time arrogance. "Yer kin an' yer will. You kin use dat er trac' 
\j. o' Ian' an' make it wuth sunthin' ter our people, an' I can't. So, 
51) yer sees, I'll jes be a-doin' my sheer, an' I'll alius t'ink, when I 
j|l hears how yer's gittin' along and a-doin' good, dat I'se a pardner 
j,\wid ye in de wuk o' gibbin' light ter our people, so dat dey'U 
jj^lknow how ter be free an' keep free forebber an' ebber. Amen!" 
j, The listeners echoed his "amen," and Eliab, flinging himself 
i,iinto the arms of Nimbus, by whom he had been sitting, and 
j 5 whose hand he had held during the entire narrative, buried his 
; face upon his breast and wept. 



6o • The Exodian 



Hesden and Mollie were on their way homeward from Eupo- 
lia, where they had inspected their property and had seen Nim- 
bus united with his family and settled for a new and more 
hopeful start in life. They had reached that wonderful young city 
of seventy-seven hills which faces toward free Kansas and reluc- 
tantly bears the ban which slavery put upon Missouri. While 
they waited for their train in the crowded depot in which the 
great ever- welcoming far West meets and first shakes hands with 
ever-swarming East, they strolled about among the shifting 
crowd. 

Soon they came upon a dusky group whose bags and bundles, 
variegated attire, and unmistakable speech showed that they were 
a party of those misguided creatures who were abandoning the 
delights of the South for the untried horrors of a life upon the 
plains of Kansas. These were of all ages, from the infant in arms 
to the decrepit patriarch, and of every shade of color from Saxon 
fairness with blue eyes and brown hair to ebon blackness. They 
were telling their stories to a circle of curious listeners. There was 
no lack of variety of incident, but a wonderful similarity of 
motive assigned for the exodus they had undertaken. 

There were ninety-four of them, and they came from five 
different States — Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and 
Texas. They had started without preconcert, and were unac- 
quainted with each other until they had collected into one body 
as the lines of travel converged on the route to Kansas. A few of 
the younger ones said that they had come because they had heard 
that Kansas was a country where there was plenty of work and 
good wages, and where a colored man could get pay for what he 
did. Others told strange tales of injustice and privation. Some, in 
explanation of their evident poverty, showed the contracts under 
which they had labored. Some told of personal outrage, of rights 

426 



The Exodian 427 

withheld, and of law curiously diverted from the ends of justice 
to the promotion of wrong. By far the greater number of them, 
however, declared their purpose to be to find a place where their 
children could grow up free, receive education, and have "a white 
man's chance" in the struggle of life. They did not expect ease or 
affluence themselves, but for their offspring they craved liberty, 
knowledge, and a fair start. 

While Hesden and Mollie stood watching this group, with the 
interest one always feels in that which reminds him of home, 
seeing in these people the forerunners of a movement which 
promised to assume astounding proportions in the near future, 
they were startled by an exclamation from one of the party: 

"Wall, I declar'! Ef dar ain't Miss Mollie — an' 'fore God, 
Marse Hesden, too! " Stumbling over the scattered bundles in his 
way, and pushing aside those who stood around, Berry Lawson 
scrambled into the presence of the travelers, bowing and scrap- 
ing, and chuckling with delight; a battered wool hat in one hand, 
a shocking assortment of dilapidated clothing upon his person, 
but his face glowing with honest good-nature, and his tones 
resonant of fun, as if care and he had always been strangers. 

"How d'ye, Miss Mollie — sah'vent, Marse Hesden. I 'How I 

must be gittin' putty nigh ter de promised Ian' when I sees you 

once mo'. Yah, yah! Yer hain't done forgot Berry, I s'pose? Kase 

ii ef yer hez, I'll jes hev ter whistle a chune ter call myself ter 

|i mind. Jes, fer instance now, like dis h'yer." 

' Then raising his hands and swaying his body in easy accompa- 
'I niment, he began to imitate the mocking-bird in his mimicry of 
■1 his feathered companions. He was very proud of this accomplish- 
wment, and his performance soon drew attention from all parts of 
It the crowded depot. Noticing this, Hesden said, 
r "There, there. Berry; that will do. There is no doubt as to your 
jui identity. We both believe that nobody but Berry Lawson could 
\do that, and are very glad to see you." Mollie smiled assent. 

"T'ank ye, sah. Much obleeged fer de compliment. Hope I see 



428 Bricks Without Straw 

yer well, an' Miss Mollie de same. Yer do me proud, both on 
yer," said Berry, bowing and scraping again, making a ball of his 
old hat, sidling restlessly back and forth, and displaying all the 
limpsy litheness of his figure, in his embarrassed attempts to 
show his enjoyment. " 'Pears like yer's trabblin' in company," he 
added, with a glance at Mollie's hand resting on Hesden's arm. 

"Yes," said Hesden good-naturedly; "Miss Mollie is Mrs. Le 
Moyne now." 

"Yer don't say!" said Berry, in surprise. "Der Lo'd an' der 
nation, what will happen next? Miss Mollie an' Marse Hesden 
done married an' a-meetin' up wid Berry out h'yer on de berry 
edge o' de kingdom! Jest ez soon hab expected to a' seen de 
vanguard o' de resurrection. Yer orter be mighty proud, Marse 
Hesden, We used ter t'ink, 'bout Red Wing, dat dar wa'n't nary 
man dat ebber cast a shadder good 'nough fer Miss Mollie." 

"And so there isn't," said Hesden, laughing. "But we can't 
stand here and talk all day. Where are you from?" 

"Whar's I frum? Ebbery place on de green yairth, Marse 
Hesden, 'ceptin' dis one, what dey hez ter shoe de goats fer ter 
help 'em climb de bluffs; an' please de Lo'd I'll be from h'yer jest 
es soon ez de train come's 'long dat's 'boun' fer de happy land of 
Canaan.' " 

"We shall have to stop over, dear," said Hesden to his wife. 
"There's no doing anything with Berry in the time we have 
between the trains. Have you any baggage?" he asked of Berry. 

"Baggage? Dat I hab — a whole handkercher full o' clean 
clo'es — jest ez soon ez dey's been washed, yer know. Yah, yah!" 

"Where are you going?" 

"Whar's I gwine? Gwine West, ter grow up wid de kentry, 
Marse Hesden." 1 

"There, there, take your bundle and come along." 

"All right, Marse Hesden. Jest ez soon wuk fer you ez enny- 
body. Good-by, folkses," said he, waving his hat to his late 
traveling companions. "I'se mighty sorry to leave yer, but biz is 



The Exodian 429 

biz, yer know, an' I'se got a job. Wish yer good luck, all on yer. 
Jes let 'em know I'm on der way, will yer? Ef yo' gits dar afo' I 
do, jes tell 'em I'se a-comin' too," he sang, as he followed Hesden 
and Mollie out of the depot, amid the laughter of the crowd 
which had gathered about them. Their baggage was soon re- 
moved from the platform, and, with Berry on the seat with the 
driver, they went to the hotel. Then, taking him down the busy 
street that winds around between the sharp hills as though it had 
crawled up, inch by inch, from the river-bottom below, Hesden 
procured him some new clothes and a valise, which Berry per- 
sisted in calling a "have'em-bag," and took him back to the hotel 
as his servant. As Hesden started to his room, the rejuvenated 
fugitive inquired, 

"Please, Marse Hesden, does yer know ennyt'ing what's a 
come ob — ob my Sally an' de chillen. It's been a powerful time 
sence I seed 'em, Marse Hesden. I 'How ter send fer 'em jest ez 
quick ez I find whar dey is, an' gits de money, yer know." 

"They are all right. Berry. You may come to my room in half 
an hour, and we will tell you all about them," answered Hesden. 

Hardly had he reached his room when he heard the footsteps 
of Berry without. Going to the door he was met by Berry with 
the explanation, 

"Beg parding, Marse Hesden. I knowed 'twa'n't de time fer me 
ter come yit, but somehow I 'llowed it would git on pearter ef I 
wuz somewhar nigh you an' Miss Mollie. I'se half afeared I'se jes 
been dreamin' ennyhow." 

"Well, come in," said Hesden. Berry entered the room, and sat 
in unwonted silence while Mollie and her husband told him 
what the reader already knows about his family and friends. The 
poor fellow's tears flowed freely, but he did not interrupt, save to 
ask now and then a question. When they had concluded, he sat a 
while in silence, and then said, 

"Bress de Lo'd! Berry won't nebber hab no mo' doubt 'bout de 
Lo'd takin' keer ob ebberybody — speshully niggas an' fools. H'yer 



430 Bricks Without Straw 

I'se been a-feelin' mighty hard kase de Ole Marster 'llowed Berry 
ter be boxed roun', h'yer an' dar, fus' dis way an' now dat, an' let 
him be run off from his wife an' chillen dat he t'ought der 
couldn't nobody take keer on but hissef ; an' h'yer all de time de 
good Lo'd hez been a-lookin' atter 'em an' a-nussin' 'em like little 
lambs, widout my knowin' ennyt'ing about it, or even axin' fer 
him ter do it. Berry!" he continued, speaking to himself, "yer's 
jest a gran' rascal, an' desarve ter be whacked roun' an' go 
hungry fer — " 

"Berry," interrupted Mollie, "have you had your breakfast?" 

"Brekfas', Miss Mollie?" said Berry, "what Berry want ob any 
brekfas'? Ain't what yer's been a-tellin' on him brekfas' an' 
dinner an' supper ter him? Brekfas' don't matter ter him now. 
He's jes dat full o' good t'ings dat he won't need no mo' for a 
week at de berry least." 

"Tell the truth. Berry; when did you eat last?" 

"Wal, I 'clar. Miss Mollie, ef Berry don't make no mistake, he 
hed a squar meal night afo' las', afo' we leave Saint Lewy. De 
yemergrant train runs mighty slow, an' Berry wa'n't patronizin' 
none o' dem cheap shops 'long de way — not much; yah, yah!" 

Hesden soon arranged to relieve his discomfort, and that night 
he told them where he had been and what had befallen him in 
the mean time. 

berry's story 

"Yer see, atter I lef Bre'er Nimbus, I went back down inter 
Hanson County; but I wuz jes dat bad skeered dat I darn't show 
myse'f in de daytime at all. So I jes' tuk Sally an' de chillen in de 
carry-all dat Nimbus lent me wid de mule, an' started on furder 
down east. 'Clar, I jes hev ter pay Nimbus fer dat mule an' 
carry-all, de berry fus' money I gits out h'yer in Kansas. It certain 
war a gret help ter Berry. Jest as long ez I hed dat ter trabbel 
wid, I knowed I war safe; kase nobody wouldn't nebber 'spect I 
was runnin' away in dat sort ob style. Wal, I went way down 



The Exodian 431 

east, an' de nex' spring went ter crappin' on sheers on a cotting 
plantation. Sally 'n' me we jes made up our minds dat we 
wouldn't draw no rations from de boss man, ner ax him fer ary 
cent ob money de whole yeah, an' den, yer know, dar wouldn't be 
nary 'count agin us when de year wuz ober. So Sally, she 'llowed 
dat she'd wuk fer de bread an' meat an' take keer ob de chillen, 
wid de few days' help I might spar' outen de crap. De boss man, 
he war boun' by de writin's ter feed de mule. Dat's de way we sot 
in. 

"We got 'long mighty peart like till some time atter de crap 
wuz laid by, 'long bout roastin'-ear-time. Den Sally tuk sick, an' 
de fus' dat I knowed we wuz out o' meat. Sally wuz powerful sot 
agin my goin' ter de boss man fer enny orders on de store, kase we 
knowed how dat wukked afo'. Den I sez, 'See h'yer, Sally, I'se 
done got it. Dar's dat piece ob corn dar, below de house, is jest 
a-gittin' good fer roastin-yeahs. Now, we'll jes pick offen de 
outside rows, an' I'll be dod-dinged ef we can't git 'long wid dat 
till de crap comes off; an' I'll jes tell Marse Hooper — dat wuz de 
name o' de man what owned de plantation — dat I'll take dem 
rows inter my sheer.' So it went on fer a week er two, an' I 
t' ought I wuz jes gittin' on like a quarter hoss. Sally wuz nigh 
'bout well, an' 'llowed she'd be ready ter go ter wuk de nex' 
week; when one mo'nin' I tuk the basket an' went down ter pick 
some corn. Jest ez I'd got de basket nigh 'bout full, who should 
start up dar, outen de bushes, on'y jes Marse Hooper; an' he sez, 
mighty brisk-like, "So? I 'llowed I'd cotch yer 'fore I got fru! 
Stealin' corn, is yer?' 

"Den I jes larfed right out, an' sez I, 'Dat's de fus' time I ebber 
heerd ob ennybody a-stealin' corn out ob his own field! Yah! 
yah!' Jes so-like. "Ain't dis yer my crap, Marse Hooper? Didn't I 
make it, jest a-payin' ter you one third on't for de rent?' T'ought 
I hed him, yer know. But, law sakes, he didn't hev no sech 
notion, not much. So he sez, sez he: 

"' "No yer don't! Dat mout a' done once, when de Radikils wuz 



432 Bricks Without Straw 

in power, but de legislatur las' winter dey made a diff'rent sort ob 
a law, slightually. Dey sed dat ef a renter tuk away enny o' de 
crap afo' it wuz all harvested an' diwided, widout de leave o' de 
owner, got afo'hand, he was guilty o' stealin' ' — larsininy, he 
called it, but its all de same. An' he sed, sez he, 'Dar ain't no use 
now. Berry Lawson. Yer's jes got yer choice. Yer kin jes git up 
an' git, er else I hez yer 'dieted an' sent ter State prison fer not 
less ner one year nor more'n twent)' — dat's 'cordin' ter de law.' 

"Den I begun ter be skeered-like, an' I sez, sez I, 'Arn't yer 
gwine ter let me stay an' gether my crap?' 

" 'Damn de crap,' sez he (axin yer parding. Miss Mollie, fer 
usin' cuss-words), Til take keer o' de crap; don't yer be afeared 
o' dat. Yer t'ought yer was damn smart, didn't yer, not takin' 
enny store orders, an' a-tryin' to fo'ce me ter pay yer cash in de 
lump? But now I'se got yer. Dis Lan'lo'd an' Tenant Act war 
made fer jes sech cussed smart niggers ez you is.' 

" 'Marse Hooper,' sez I, 'is dat de law?' 

" 'Sartin,' sez he, 'jes you come long wid me ober ter Squar 
Tice's, an' ef he don't say so I'll quit — dat's all.' 

"So we went ober ter Squar Tice's, an' he sed Marse Hooper 
war right — dat it war stealin' all de same, even ef it war my own 
crap. Den I seed dat Marse Hooper hed me close, an' I begun ter 
beg off, kase I knowed it war a heap easier ter feed him soft corn 
dan ter fight him in de law, when I wuz boun' ter git whipped. 
De Squar war a good sort ob man, an' he kinder 'suaded Marse 
Hooper ter 'comp' de matter wid me; an' dat's what we did 
finally. He gin me twenty dollahs an' I signed away all my right 
ter de crap. Den he turned in an' wanted ter hire me fer de nex 
yeah; but de Squar, he tuk me out an' sed I'd better git away 
from dar, kase ennybody could bring de matter up agin me an' 
git me put in de penitentiary fer it, atter all dat hed been sed an 
done. So we geared up, an' moved on. Sally felt mighty bad, an' it 
did seem hard; but I tried ter chirk her up, yer know, an' tole her 



The Exodian 433 

dat, rough ez it war, it war better nor we'd ebber done afo', kase 
we hed twenty doUahs an' didn't owe nuffin'. 

"I 'llowed we'd git clean away dat time, an' we didn't stop till 
we'd got inter anodder State. 

"Wal, dar I sot in ter wuk a cotting crap agin. Dis time I 
'llowed I'd jest take de odder way; an' so I tuk up all de orders 
on de sto' dat de boss man would let me hev, kase I 'llowed ter 
git what I could ez I went 'long, yer know. So, atter de cotting 
wuz all picked, an' de 'counts all settled up, dar warn't only jest 
one little bag ob lint a comin' ter Berry. I tuk dat inter de town 
one Saturday in de ebenin', an' went roun' h'yer an' dar, a-tryin' 
ter git de biggest price 'mong de buyers dat I could. 

"It happened dat I done forgot al 'bout it's comin' on late, an' 
jest a little atter sun-down, I struck on a man dat offered me 
'bout a cent a poun' more'n ennybody else hed done, an' I traded 
wid him. Den I druv de mule roun', an' hed jes got de cotting out 
ob de carry-all an' inter de sto', when, fust I knowed, 'long come 
a p'liceman an' tuk me up for selling cotting atter sun-down. I 
tole him dat it was my own cotting, what I'd done raised myself, 
but he sed ez how it didn't make no sort of diff'rence at all. He 
'clared dat de law sed ez how ennybody ez sold er offered fer sale 
any cotting atter sundown an' afore sun-up, should be sent ter 
jail jes de same ez ef he'd done stole it. Den I axed de man dat 
bought de cotting ter gib it back ter me, but he wouldn't do dat, 
nohow, nor de money for it nuther. So dey jes' toted me off ter 
jail. 

"I knowed der warn't no use in sayin' nuffin' den. So when 
Sally come in I tole her ter jes take dat ar mule an' carry-all an' 
sell 'em off jest ez quick ez she could, so dat nobody wouldn't git 
hold ob dem. But when she tried ter do it, de boss man stopped 
her from it, kase he hed a mortgage on 'em fer de contract; an' 
I he sed ez how I hedn't kep' my bargain kase I'd gone an' got put 
in jail afo' de yeah was out. So she couldn't git no money ter pay 



434 Bricks Without Straw 

a lawyer, an' I don't s'pose 'twould hev done enny good ef she 
hed. I tola her not ter mind no mo' 'bout me, but jes ter come 
back ter Red Wing an' see ef Miss Mollie couldn't help her out 
enny. Yer see I was jes shore dey'd put me in de chain-gang, an' I 
didn't want her ner de chillen ter be whar dey'd see me a totin' 
'roun' a ball an' chain. 

"Shore 'nough, when de court come on, dey tried me an' fotch 
me in guilty o' sellin' cotting arter sundown. De jedge, he lec- 
tured me powerful fer a while, an' den he ax me what I'd got ter 
say 'bout it. Dat's de way I understood him ter say, ennyhow. So, 
e2 he wuz dat kind ez ter ax me ter speak in meetin', I 'llowed 
t^^a'n't no mo' dan polite fer me ter say a few words, yer know. I 
told him squar out dat I t'ought 'twas a might}' quare law an' a 
mighty mean one, too, dat put a man in de chain-gang jes kase he 
sold his own cotting atter sundown, when dey let ennybody buy 
it an' not pay fer it at all. I tole him dat dey let 'em sell whisky 
an' terbacker an' calico and sto' clo'es an' ebbery t'ing dat a 
nigger hed ter buy, jest all times o' day an' night; an' I jest 
bleeved dat de whole t'ing war jest a white man's trick ter git 
niggas in de chain-gang. Den de jedge he tried ter set down on 
me an' tole me ter stop, but I wuz dat mad dat when I got 
a-g\\'ine dar warn't no stoppin' me till de sheriff he jes grabbed 
me by de scruff o' de neck, an' sot me down jest ennyway — all in 
a heap, yer know. Den de jedge passed sentence, yer know, an' he 
sed dat he gib me one year fer de stealin' an' one year fer sassin' 
de Court. 

"So dey mk me back ter jail, but, Lor' bress ye, dey didn't git 
me inter de chain-gang, nohow. 'Fore de mo'nin' come I'd jes bid 
good-by ter dat jail an' was a pintin' outen dat kentry, in my 
weak way, ez de ministers say, jest ez fast ez I could git ober de 
groun', 

"Den I jes clean gib up. I couldn't take my back trac nowhar, 
fer fear I'd be tuk up. I t'ought it all ober while I wuz a trabblin' 
'long; an' I swar ter God, Marse Hesden, I jes did peg out ob all , 



The Exodian 435 

hope. I couldn't go back ter Sallie an' de chillen, ner couldn't do 
'em enny good ef I did; ner I couldn't send fer dem ter come ter 
me, kase I hedn't nuffin' ter fotch 'em wid. So I jes kinder gin 
out, an' went a-sloshin' roun', not a-keerin' what I done er what 
was ter come on me. I kep' a'sendin' letters ter Sally h'yer an' dar, 
but, bress yer soul, I nebber heard nuffin' on 'em atterwards. Den 
I t'ought I'd try an' git money ter go an' hunt 'em up, but it was 
jes' ez it was afo'. I dunno how, but de harder I wuk de porer I 
got, till finally I jest started off afoot an' alone ter go ter Kansas; 
an' h'yer I is, ready ter grow up wid de kentry, Marse Hesden, 
jest ez soon ez I gits ter Sally an' de chillen." 

"I'm glad you have not had any political trouble," said Hes- 
den. 

"P'litical trouble?" said Berry. "Wal, Marse Hesden, yer 

knows dat Berry is jes too good-natered ter do ennyt'ing but wuk 

an' larf, an' do a little whistlin' an banjo-pickin' by way ob a 

change; but I be dinged ef it don't 'pear ter me dat it's all p'litical 

trouble. Who's Berry ebber hurt? What's he ebber done, I'd like 

ter know, ter be debbled roun' dis yer way? I use ter vote, ob 

co'se. T'ought I hed a right ter, an' dat it war my duty ter de 

kentry dat hed gib me so much. But I don't do dat no mo'. Two 

year ago I quit dat sort o' foolishness. What's de use? I see'd 'em 

I count de votes, Marse Hesden, an' den I knowed dar warn't no 

mo' use ob votin' gin dat. Yer know, dey 'pints all de jedges ob 

( de 'lection derselves, an' so count de votes jest ez dey wants 'em. 

] Dar in our precinct war two right good white men, but dey 

' 'pinted nary one o' dem ter count de votes. Oh no, not ter speak 

( on! Dey puts on de Board a good-'nough old cullu'd man dat 

c didn't know 'B' from a bull's foot. Wal, our white men 'ranges 

cde t'ing so dat dey counts our men ez dey goes up ter de box an' 

; dey gibs out de tickets dereselves. Now, dar wuz six hundred an' 

odd ob our tickets went inter dat box. Dat's shore. But dar wa'n't 

t'ree hundred come out. I pretended ter be drunk, an' laid down 

by de chimbly whar dar was a peep-hole inter dat room, an' seed 



43^ Bricks Without Straw 

dat countin' done. When dey fust opened de box one on 'em sez, 
sez he, 

" 'Lord God! what a lot o' votes!' Den dey all look an' 'llowed 
dar war a heap mo' votes than dey'd got names. So they all 
turned in ter count de votes. Dar wuz two kinds on 'em. One wuz 
little bits ob slick, shiny fellers, and de odders jes common big 
ones. When dey'd got 'em all counted they done some figurin', 
an' sed dey'd hev ter draw out 'bout t'ree hundred an' fifty votes. 
So dey put 'em back in de box, all folded up jest ez dey wuz at 
de start, an' den dey shuck it an' shuck it an' shuck it, till it 
seemed ter me 'em little fellers wuz boun' ter slip fru de bottom. 
Den one on 'em wuz blindfolded, an' he drew outen de box till 
he got out de right number — mostly all on 'em de big tickets, 
mind ye, kase dey wuz on top, yer know. Den dey count de rest 
an' make up de papers, an' burns all de tickets. 

"Now what's de use o' votin' agin dat? I can't see what fer dey 
put de tickets in de box at all. 'Tain't half ez fa'r ez a lottery I 
seed one time in Melton; kase dar dey kep turnin' ober de wheel, 
an' all de tickets hed a fa'r show. No, Marse Hesden, I nebber 
does no mo' votin' till I t'inks dar's a leetle chance o' habbin' my 
vote counted jest ez I drops it inter de box, 'long wid de rest. I 
don't see no use in it." 

"You are quite right. Berry," said Hesden; but what do you say 
is the reason you have come away from the South?" 

"Jest kase a poor man dat hain't got no larnin' is wuss off dar 
dan a cat in hell widout claws; he can't fight ner he can't climb. 
I'se wukked hard an' been honest ebber sence de S'render an' I 
hed ter walk an' beg my rations ter git h'yer.* Dat's de reason!" 
said Berry, springing to his feet and speaking excitedly. 

"Yes, Berry, you have been unfortunate, but I know all are not 
so badly off." 

* The actual words used by a colored man well-known to the writer 
in giving his reason for joining the "exodus," in a conversation in the 
depot at Kansas City, in February last. 



What Shall the End Be? 437 

"T'ank God fer dat!" said Berry. "Yer see I'd a' got' long well 
'nough ef I'd hed a far shake an' hed know'd all 'bout de law, er 
ef de law hadn't been made ter cotch jes sech ez me. I didn't 
ebber 'spect nuffin' but jest a tollable libbin', only a bit ob larnin, 
fer my chillen. I tried mighty hard, an' dis is jes what's come on't. 
I don't pertend ter say what's de matter, but sunthin' is wrong, or 
else sunthin' hez been wrong, an' dis that we hez now is jest de 
fruits on't — I dunno which. I can't understand it, nohow. I don't 
hate nobody, an' I don't know ez dar's enny way out, but only jes 
ter wait an' wait ez we did in slave times fer de good time ter 
come. I wuz jes dat tuckered out a-tryin', dat I t'ought I'd come 
out h'yer an' wait an' see ef I couldn't grow up wid de kentry, yer 
know. Yah, yah! " 

The next morning the light-hearted exodian departed, with a 
ticket for Eupolia and a note to his white fellow-fugitive from 
the evils which a dark past has bequeathed to the South — Jordan 
Jackson, now the agent of Hesden and MoUie in the manage- 
ment of their interests at that place. Hesden and Mollie con- 
tinued their homeward journey, stopping for a few days in 
Washington on their way. 



61 • What Shall the End Be? 



Two men sat upon one of the benches in the shade of a 
spreading elm in the shadow of the National Capitol, as the sun 
declined toward his setting. They had been walking and talking 
as only earnest, thoughtful men are wont to talk. They had 



438 Bricks "Without Straw 

forgotten each other and themselves in the endeavor to forecast 
the future of the country after a consideration of its past. 

One was tall, broad, and of full habit, with a clear blue eye, 
high, noble forehead, and brown beard and hair just beginning 
to be flecked with gray, and of a light complexion inclining to 
floridness. He was a magnificent type of the Northern man. He 
had been the shaper of his own destiny, and had risen to high 
position, with the aid only of that self-reliant manhood which 
constitutes the life and glory of the great free North. He was the 
child of the North-west, but his ancestral roots struck deep into 
the rugged hills of New England. The West had made him 
broader and fuller and freer than the stock from which he 
sprang, without impairing his earnestness of purpose or intensity 
of conviction. 

The other, more slender, dark, with something of sallowness 
in his sedate features, with hair and beard of dark brown clinging 
close to the finely-chiseled head and face, with an empty sleeve 
pinned across his breast, showed more of litheness and subtlety, 
and scarcely less of strength, than the one on whom he gazed, 
and was an equally perfect type of the Southern-born American. 
The one was the Honorable Washington Goodspeed, M.C., and 
the other was Hesden Le Moyne. 

"Well, Mr. Le Moyne," said the former, after a long and 
thoughtful pause, "is there any remedy for these things? Can the 
South and the North ever be made one people in thought, spirit, 
and purpose? It is evident that they have not been in the past; 
can they become so in the future? Wisdom and patriotism have 
thus far developed no cure for this evil; they seem, indeed, to 
have proved inadequate to the elucidation of the problem. Have 
you any solution to offer?" 

"I think," replied Le Moyne, speaking slowly and thought- 
fully, "that there is a solution lying just at our hand, the very 
simplicity of which, perhaps, has hitherto prevented us from 
fully appreciating its effectiveness." 



What Shall the End Be? 439 

"Ah!" said Goodspeed, with some eagerness, "and what may 
that be?" 

"Education!" was the reply. 

"Oh, yes," said the other, with a smile. "You have adopted, 
then, the Fourth of July remedy for all national ills?" 

"If you mean by "Fourth of July remedy,' " replied Hesden 
with some tartness, "that it is an idea born of patriotic feeling 
alone, I can most sincerely answer, Yes. You will please to 
recollect that every bias of my mind and life has been toward the 
Southern view of all things. I doubt if any man of the North can 
appreciate the full force and effect of that bias upon the minds 
and hearts of those exposed to its operation. When the war ended 
I had no reason or motive for considering the question of re- 
building the national prosperity and power upon a jfirmer and 
broader basis than before. That was left entirely to you gentle- 
men of the North. It was not until you, the representatives of the 
national power, had acted — ay, it was not until your action had 
resulted in apparent failure — that I began to consider this ques- 
tion at all. I did so without any selfish bias or hope, beyond that 
which every man ought to have in behalf of the Nation which he 
is a part, and in which he expects his children to remain. So that 
I think I may safely say that my idea of the remedy does spring 
from a patriotism as deep and earnest as ever finds expression 
upon the national holiday." 

"Oh, I did not mean that," was the half-apologetic rejoinder; 
"I did not mean to question your sincerity at all; but the truth is, 
there has been so much impracticable theorizing upon this sub- 
ject that one who looks for results can scarcely restrain an 
expression of impatience when that answer is dogmatically given 
to such an inquiry." 

"Without entirely indorsing your view as to the impracticality 
of what has been said and written upon this subject," answered 
Le Moyne, "I must confess that I have never yet seen it formu- 
lated in a manner entirely satisfactory to myself. For my part, I 



440 Bricks Without Straw 

am thoroughly satisfied that it is not only practicable, but is also 
the sole practicable method of curing the ills of which we have 
been speaking. It seems to me also perfectly apparent why the 
remedy has not previously been applied — ^why the patriotism and 
wisdom of the past has failed to hit upon this simple remedy." 

"Well, why was it?" 

"The difference between the North and the South before the 
war," said Le Moyne, "was twofold; both the political and the 
social organizations of the South were utterly different from 
those of the North, and could not be harmonized with them. The 
characteristics of the social organization you, in common with 
the intelligent masses of the North, no doubt comprehend as 
fully and clearly as is possible for one who has not personally 
investigated its phenomena. Your Northern social system was 
builded upon the idea of inherent equality — that is, of equality 
and opportunity; so that the only inequality which could exist 
was that which resulted from the accident of wealth or difference 
of capacity in the individual. 

"The social system of the South was opposed to this in its very 
elements. At the very outset it was based upon a wide distinction, 
never overlooked or forgotten for a single moment. Under no 
circumstances could a colored man, of whatever rank or grade of 
intellectual power, in any respect, for a single instant overstep 
the gulf which separated him from the Caucasian, however 
humble, impoverished, or degraded the latter might be. This 
rendered easy and natural the establishment of other social 
grades and ideas, which tended to separate still farther the 
Northern from the Southern social system. The very fact of the 
African being thus degraded led, by natural association, to the 
degradation of those forms of labor most frequently delegated to 
the slave. By this means free labor became gradually to be 
considered more and more disreputable, and self-support to be 
considered less and less honorable. The necessities of slavery, as 
well as the constantly growing pride of class, tended very rapidly 



What Shall the End Be? 441 

toward the subversion of free thought and free speech; so that, 
even with the white man of any and every class, the right to hold 
and express opinions different from those entertained by the bulk 
of the master-class with reference to all those subjects related to 
the social system of the South soon came to be questioned, and 
eventually utterly denied. All these facts the North — that is, the 
Northern people, Northern statesmen. Northern thinkers — have 
comprehended as facts. Their influence and bearings, I may be 
allowed to say, they have little understood, because they have not 
sufficiently realized their influence upon the minds of those 
subjected, generation after generation, to their sway. 

""On the other hand, the wide difference between the political 
systems of the North and the South seems never to have affected 
the Northern mind at all. The Northern statesmen and political 
writers seem always to have proceeded upon the assumption that 
the removal of slavery, the changing of the legal status of the 
African, resulting in the withdrawal of one of the props which 
supported the social system of the South, would of itself over- 
throw not only that system, but the political system which had 
grown up along with it, and which was skillfully designed for its 
maintenance and support. Of the absolute difference between the 
political systems of the South and the North, and of the fact that 
the social and political systems stood to each other in the mutual 
relation of cause and effect, the North seems ever to have been 
profoundly ignorant." 

"Well," said Mr. Goodspeed, "'I must confess that I cannot 
understand what difference there is, except what arose out of 
slavery." 

"The question is not," said Le Moyne, "whether it arose out of 
slavery, but whether it would of necessity fall with the extinction 
of slavery as a legal status. It is, perhaps, impossible for any one 
to say exactly how much of the political system of the South 
grew out of slavery, and how much of slavery and its conse- 
quences were due to the Southern political system." 



442 Bricks Without Straw 

"I do not catch your meaning," said Goodspeed. "Except for 
the system of slavery and the exclusion of the blacks from the 
exercise and enjoyment of political rights and privileges, I cannot 
see that the political system of the South differed materially from 
that of the North." 

"Precisely so," said Le Moyne. "Your inability to perceive my 
meaning very clearly illustrates to my mind the fact which I am 
endeavoring to impress upon you. If you will consider for a 
moment the history of the country, you will observe that a 
system prevailed in the non-slaveholding States which was im- 
known, either in name or essential attributes, throughout the 
slaveholding part of the country." 

"Yes?" said the other inquiringly. "What may that have 
been?" 

"In one word," said Le Moyne — "the "township' system." 

"Oh, yes," laughed the Congressman lightly; "the Yankee 
town-meeting." 

"Exactly," responded Le Moyne; "yet I venture to say that the 
presence and absence of the town-meeting — the township system 
or its equivalent — in the North and in the South, constituted a 
difference not less vital and important than that of slavery itself. 
In fact, sir, I sincerely believe that it is to the township system 
that the North owes the fact that it is not to-day as much slave 
territory as the South was before the war." 

"What! " said the Northerner, with surprise, "you do not mean 
to say that the North owes its freedom, its prosperity, and its 
intelligence — the three things in which it differs from the South 
most materially — entirely to the Yankee town-meeting?" 

"Perhaps not entirely," said Le Moyne; "but in the main I 
think it does. And there are certain facts connected with our 
history which I think, when you consider them carefully, will 
incline you to the same belief." 

"Indeed; I should be glad to know them." 



What Shall the End Be? 443 

"The first of these," continued Le Moyne, "is the fact that in 
every state in which the township system really prevailed, slavery 
was abolished without recourse to arms, without civil discord or 
perceptible evil results. The next is that in the states in which the 
township system did not prevail in fact as well as name, the 
public school system did not exist, or had only a nominal exist- 
ence; and the proportion of illiteracy in those states as a conse- 
quence was, among the whites alone, something like four times 
as great as in those states in which the township system flour- 
ished. And this, too, notwithstanding almost the entire bulk of 
the ignorant immigration from the old world entered into the 
composition of the Northern populations. And, thirdly, there 
resulted a difference which I admit to be composite in its causes 
— that is, the difference in average wealth. Leaving out of consid- 
eration the capital invested in slaves, the per capita valuation of 
the states having the township system was something more than 
three times the average in those where it was unknown." 

"But what reason can you give for this belief?" said Good- 
speed. "How do you connect with the consequences, which can- 
not be doubted, the cause you assign? The differences between 
the South and the North have hitherto been attributed entirely to 
slavery; why do you say that they are in so great a measure due to 
differences of political organization?" 

"I can very well see," was the reply, "that one reared as you 
were should fail to understand at once the potency of the system 
which has always been to you as much a matter of course as the 
atmosphere by which you are surrounded. It was not until Har- 
vey's time — indeed, it was not until a much later period — that we 
knew in what way and manner animal life was maintained by 
the inhalation of atmospheric air. The fact of its necessity was 
apparent to every child, but how it operated was unknown. I do 
not now profess to be able to give all of those particulars which 
have made the township system, or its equivalent, an essential 



444 Bricks Without Straw 

concomitant of political equality, and, as I think, the vital ele- 
ment of American liberty. But I can illustrate it so that you will 
get the drift of my thought." 

"I should be glad if you would," said Goodspeed. 

"The township system," continued Le Moyne, "may, for the 
present purpose, be defined to be the division of the entire 
territory of the state into small municipalities, the inhabitants of 
which control and manage for themselves, directly and immedi- 
ately, their own local affairs. Each township is in itself a minia- 
ture republic, every citizen of which exercises in its affairs equal 
power with every other citizen. Each of these miniature republics 
becomes a constituent element of the higher representative re- 
public — namely, a county, which is itself a component of the still 
larger representative republic, the State. It is patterned upon and 
no doubt grew out of the less perfect borough systems of Europe, 
and those inchoate communes of our Saxon forefathers which 
were denominated 'Hundred.' It is the slow growth of centuries 
of political experience; the ripe fruit of ages of liberty-seeking 
thought. 

"The township is the shield and nursery of individual freedom 
of thought and action. The young citizen who has never dreamed 
of a political career becomes interested in some local question 
affecting his individual interests. A bridge is out of repair; a 
roadmaster has failed to perform his duty; a constable has been 
remiss in his office; a justice of the peace has failed to hold the 
scales with even balance between rich and poor; a school has not 
been properly cared for; the funds of the township have been 
squandered; or the assumption of a liability is proposed by the 
township trustees, the policy of which he doubts. He has the 
remedy in his own hands. He goes to the township meeting, or he 
appears at the town-house upon election day, and appeals to his 
own neighbors — those having like interests with himself. He 
engages in the struggle, hand to hand and foot to foot with his 
equals; he learns confidence in himself; he begins to measure his 



What Shall the End Be? 445 

own power, and fits himself for the higher duties and responsibil- 
ities of statesmanship." 

"Well, well," laughed Goodspeed, "there is something in that. 
I remember that my first political experience was in trying to 
defeat a supervisor who did not properly work the roads of his 
district; but I had never thought that in so doing I was illustrat- 
ing such a doctrine as you have put forth." 

"No; the doctrine is not mine," said Le Moyne. "Others, and 
especially that noted French political philosopher who so calmly 
and faithfully investigated our political system — the author of 
'Democracy in America' — clearly pointed out, many years ago, 
the exceptional value of this institution, and attributed to it the 
superior intelligence and prosperity of the North." 

"Then," was the good-natured reply, "your prescription for the 
political regeneration of the South is the same as that which we 
all laughed at as coming from Horace Greeley immediately upon 
the downfall of the Confederacy — that the Government should 
send an army of surveyors to the South to lay off the land in 
sections and quarter-sections, establish parallel roads, and enforce 
topographic uniformity upon the nation?" 

"Not at all," said Le Moyne. "I think that the use of the term 
'township' in a double sense has misled our political thinkers in 
estimating its value. It is by no means necessary that the town- 
ship of the United States survey should be arbitrarily established 
in every state. In fact, the township system really finds its fullest 
development where such a land division does not prevail, as in 
New England, Pennsylvania, and other states. It is the people 
that require to be laid off in townships, not the land. Arkansas, 
Missouri, Alabama, all have their lands laid off in the parallelo- 
grams prescribed by the laws regulating United States surveys; 
but their people are not organized into self-governing com- 
munes." 

"But was there no equivalent system of local self-government 
in those states?" 



44^ Bricks Without Straw 

"No; and there is not to-day. In some cases there are lame 
approaches to it; but in none of the former slave States were the 
counties made up of self-governing subdivisions. The South is 
to-day and always has been a stranger to local self-government. 
In many of those states every justice of the peace, every school 
committeeman, every inspector of elections is appointed by some 
central power in the county, which is in turn itself appointed 
either by the Chief Executive of the State or by the dominant 
party in the Legislature. There may be the form of townships, 
but the differential characteristic is lacking — the self-governing 
element of the township." 

"I don't know that I fully comprehend you," said Goodspeed. 
"Please illustrate." 

"Well, take one state for an example, where the constitution 
adopted during the reconstruction period introduced the town- 
ship system, and authori2ed the electors of each township to 
choose their justices of the peace, constables, school-committee- 
men, and other local officials. It permitted the people of the 
county to choose a board of commissioners, who should adminis- 
ter the financial matters of the county, and, in some instances, 
exercise a limited judicial authority. But now they have, in effect, 
returned to the old system. The dominant party in the Legislature 
appoints every justice of the peace in the state. The justices of the 
peace of each county elect from their number the county com- 
missioners; the county commissioners appoint the school-com- 
mitteemen, the roadmasters, the registrars of election and the 
judges of election; so that every local interest throughout the 
entire state is placed under the immediate power and control of 
the dominant party, although not a tenth part of the voters of 
any particular township or county may belong to that party. In 
another state all this power, and even more, is exercised by the 
Chief Executive; and in all of them you will find that the county 
— or its equivalent, the parish — is the smallest political unit 
having a municipal character." 



6x ' Ho^w? 



There was a moment of silence, after which the Northern man 
said thoughtfully, 

"I think I understand your views, Mr. Le Moyne, and must 
admit that both the facts and the deductions which you make 
from them are very interesting, full of food for earnest reflection, 
and, for aught I know, may fully bear out your view of their 
effects. Still, I cannot see that your remedy for this state of affairs 
differs materially in its practicability from that of the departed 
philosopher of Chappaqua. He prescribed a division of the lands, 
while, if I understand you, you would have the Government in 
some way prescribe and control the municipal organizations of 
the people of the various states. I cannot see what power the 
National Government has, or any branch of it, which could 
effectuate that result." 

"It can only be done as it was done at the North," said Le 
Moyne quietly. 

"Well, I declare!" said Goodspeed, with an outburst of laugh- 
ter, "your riddle grows worse and worse — more and more insolu- 
ble to my mind. How, pray, was it done at the North? I always 
thought we got it from colonial times. I am sure the New 
England town-meeting came over in the Mayflower." 

"So it did!" responded Hesden, springing to his feet; "so it did; 
it came over in the hearts of men who demanded, and were 
willing to give up everything else to secure the right of local 
self-government. The little colony upon the Mayflower was a 
township, and every man of its passengers carried the seed of the 
ideal township system in his heart." 

"Admitted, admitted, Mr. Le Moyne," said the other, smiling 
at his earnestness. "But how shall we repeat the experiment? 
"Would you import men into every township of the South, in 

447 



448 Bricks Without Straw 

order that they might carry the seeds of civil liberty with them, 
and build up the township system there?" 

"By no means. I would make the men on the spot. I would so 
mold the minds of every class of the Southern people that all 
should be indoctrinated with the spirit of local self-government." 

"But how would you do it?" 

"With spelling-books!" answered Hesden sententiously. 

"There we are," laughed the other, "at the very point we 
started from. Like the poet of the Western barroom, you may 
well say, my friend, 'And so I end as I did begin.' " 

"Yes," said Le Moyne, "we have considered the desirability of 
education, and you have continually cried, with good-natured 
incredulity, 'How shall it be done?' Are you not making that 
inquiry too soon?" 

"Not at all," said the Congressman earnestly; "I see how 
desirable is the result, and I am willing to do anything in my 
power to attain it, if there is any means by which it can be 
accomplished." 

"That is it," said Le Moyne; "you are willing; you recognize 
that it would be a good thing; you wish it might be done; you 
have no desire to stand in the way of its accomplishment. That is 
not the spirit which achieves results. Nothing is accomplished by 
mere assent. The American people must first be thoroughly 
satisfied that it is a necessity. The French may shout over a red 
cap, and overturn existing systems for a vague idea; but Ameri- 
can conservatism consists in doing nothing until it is absolutely 
necessary. We never move until the fifty-ninth minute of the 
eleventh hour. 

"Only think of it! You fought a rebellion, based professedly 
upon slavery as a corner-stone, for almost two years before you 
could bring yourselves to disturb that corner-stone. You knew 
the structure would fall if that were done; but the American 
people waited and waited until every man was fully satisfied that 



How? 449 

there was no other possible road to success. It is just so in this 
matter. I feel its necessity. You do not." 

"There I think you do me injustice," said Goodspeed, "I feel 
the necessity of educating every citizen of the Republic, as well 
as you." 

"No doubt, in a certain vague way," was the reply; "but you do 
not feel it as the only safety to the Republic to-day; and I do." 

"I confess I do not see, as you seem to, the immediate advan- 
tage, or the immediate danger, more than that which has always 
threatened us," answered the Congressman. 

"This, after all, is the real danger, I think," said Le Moyne. 
"The states containing only one third of the population of this 
Union contain also more than two thirds of its entire illiteracy. 
Twenty-five out of every hundred — one out of every four — of 
the white voters of the former slave states cannot read the ballots 
which they cast; forty-five per cent of the entire voting strength 
of those sixteen states are unable to read or write." 

"Well?" said the other calmly, seeing Le Moyne look at him 
as though expecting him to show surprise. 

"Well!" said Le Moyne. "I declare your Northern phlegm is 
past my comprehension. 'Well,' indeed! it seems to me as bad as 
bad can be. Only think of it — only six per cent of intelligence 
united with this illiterate vote makes a majority!" 

"Well?" was the response again, still inquiringly. 

"And that majority," continued Le Moyne, "would choose 
seventy-two per cent of the electoral votes necessary to name a 
President of the United States!" 

"Well," said the other, with grim humor, "they are not very 
likely to do it at present, anyhow." 
I "That is true," replied Le Moyne. "But there is still the other 
danger, and the greater evil. That same forty-five per cent are of 
course easily made the subjects of fraud or violence, and we face 
this dilemma: they may either use their power wrongfully, or be 



450 Bricks Without Straw 

wrongfully deprived of the exercise of their ballotorial rights. 
Either alternative is alike dangerous. If we suppose the illiterate 
voter to be either misled or intimidated, or prevented from 
exercising his judgment and his equality of right with others in 
the control of our government, then we have the voice of this 
forty-five per cent silenced — whether by intimidation or by fraud 
matters not. Then a majority of the remaining fifty-four per cent, 
or, say, twenty-eight per cent of one third of the population of 
the Nation in a little more than one third of the States, might 
exercise seventy-two per cent of the electoral power necessary to 
choose a President, and a like proportion of the legislative power 
necessary to enact laws. Will the time ever come, my friend, 
when it will be safe to put in the way of any party such a 
temptation as is presented by this oppormnity to acquire power?" 

"No, no, no," said the Northern man, with impatience. "But 
what can you do? Education will not make men honest, or 
patriotic, or moral." 

"True enough," was the reply. "Nor will the knowledge of 
toxicology prevent the physician from being a poisoner, or skill 
in handwriting keep a man from becoming a forger. But the 
study of toxicology will enable the physician to save life, and 
the study of handwriting is a valuable means of preventing the 
results of wrongful acts. So, while education does not make the 
voter honest, it enables him to protect himself against the frauds 
of others, and not only increases his power but inspires him to 
resist violence. So that, in the aggregate, you Northerners are 
right in the boast which you make that intelligence makes a 
people stronger and braver and freer." 

"So your remedy is — " began the other. 

"Not my remedy, but the only remedy, is to educate the people 
until they shall be wise enough to know what they ought to do, 
and brave enough and strong enough to do it." 

"Oh, that is all well enough, if it could be done," said Good- 
speed. 



How? 451 

"Therefore it is," remrned Hesden, "that it must be done." 

"But how?" said the other querulously. "You know that the 
G)nstitution gives the control of such matters entirely to the 
States. The Nation cannot interfere with It. It is the duty of the 
States to educate their citizens — a clear and imperative duty; but 
if they will not do it the Nation cannot compel them." 

"Yes," said Hesden, "I know. For almost a century you said 
that about slavery; and you have been trying to hunt a way of 
escape from your enforced denial of it ever since. But as a matter 
of fact, when you came to the last ditch and found no bridge 
across, you simply made one. When it became an unavoidable 
question whether the Union or slavery should live, you chose the 
Union. The choice may come between the Union and ignorance; 
and if it does, I have no fear as to which the people will choose. 
The doctrine of State Rights is a beautiful thing to expatiate 
upon, but it has been the root of nearly all the evil the country 
has suffered. However, I believe that this remedy can at once be 
applied without serious inconvenience from that source." 

"How?" asked the other; "that is what I want to know." 

"Understand me," said Le Moyne; "I do not consider the 
means so important as the end. When the necessity is fully 
realized the means will be discovered; but I believe that we hold 
the clue even now in our hands." 

"Well, what is it?" was the impatient inquiry. 

"A fund of about a million dollars," said Le Moyne, "has 
already been distributed to free public schools in the South, upon 
a system which does not seriously interfere with the jealously- 
guarded rights of those states." 

"You mean the Peabody Fund?" 

"Yes; I do refer to that act of unparalleled beneficence and 
wisdom." 

"But that was not the act of the Nation." 

"Very true; but why should not the Nation distribute a like 
bounty upon the same system? It is admitted, beyond serious 



452 Bricks Without Straw 

controversy, that the Nation may raise and appropriate funds for 
such purposes among the different states, provided it be not for 
the exclusive benefit of any in particular. It is perhaps past 
controversy that the Government might distribute a fund to the 
different states in the proportion of illiteracy. This, it is true, 
would give greater amounts to certain states than to others, but 
only greater in proportion to the evil to be remedied." 

"Yes," said the other; "but the experience of the Nation in 
distributing lands and funds for educational purposes has not 
been encouraging. The results have hardly been commensurate 
with the investment." 

"That is true," said Hesden, "and this is why I instance the 
Peabody Fund. That is not given into the hands of the officers of 
the various states, but when a school is organized and fulfills the 
requirements laid down for the distribution of that fund, in 
regard to numbers and average attendance — in other words, is 
shown to be an efficient institution of learning — then the manag- 
ers of the fund give to it a sum sufficient to defray a certain 
proportion of its expenses." 

"And you think such a system might be applied to a Govern- 
ment appropriation?" 

"Certainly. The amount to which the county, township, or 
school district would be entitled might be easily ascertained, and 
upon the organization and maintenance of a school complying 
with the reasonable requirements of a well-drawn stamte in 
regard to attendance and instruction, such amount might be paid 
over." 

"Yes," was the reply, after a thoughtful pause; "but would not 
that necessitate a National supervision of State schools?" 

"To a certain extent, yes. Yet there would be nothing compul- 
sory about it. It would only be such inspection as would be 
necessary to determine whether the applicant had entitled him- 
self to share the Nation's bounty. Surely the Nation may condi- 
tion its own bounty." 



How? 453 

"But suppose these states should refuse to submit to such 
inspection, or accept such appropriation?" 

"That is the point, exactly, to which I desire to bring your 
attention," said Le Moyne. "Ignorance, unless biased by religious 
bigotry, always clamors for knowledge. You could well count 
upon the forty-five per cent of ignorant voters insisting upon the 
reception of that bounty. The number of those that recognize the 
necessity of instructing the ignorant voter, even in those states, is 
hourly increasing, and but a brief time would elapse until no 
party would dare to risk opposition to such a course. I doubt 
whether any party would venture upon it, even now." 

"But are not its results too remote, Mr. Le Moyne, to make 
such a measure of present interest in the cure of present evils?" 

"Not at all," answered Hesden. "By such a measure you bring 
the purest men of the South into close and intimate relations 
with the Government. You cut off the sap which nourishes the 
yet living root of the State Rights dogma. You bring every man 
to feel as you feel, that there is something greater and grander 
than his State and section. Besides that, you draw the poison from 
the sting which rankles deeper than you think. The Southern 
white man feels, and justly feels, that the burden of educating 
the colored man ought not to be laid upon the South alone. He 
says truly, 'The Nation fostered and encouraged slavery; it gave 
it greater protection and threw greater safeguards around it than 
any other kind of property; it encouraged my ancestors and 
myself to invest the proceeds of generations of care and skill and 
growth in slaves. When the war ended it not only at one stroke 
dissipated all these accumulations, but it also gave to these men 
the ballot, and would now drive me, for my own protection, to 
provide for their education. This is unjust and oppressive. I will 
not do it, nor consent that it shall be done by my people or by 
our section alone.' To such a man — and there are many thousands 
of them — such a measure would come as an act of justice. It 
would be a grateful balm to his outraged feelings, and would 



454 Bricks "Without Straw 

incline him to forget, much more readily than he otherwise 
would, what he regards to be the injustice of emancipation. It 
will lead him to consider whether he has not been wrong in 
supposing that the emancipation and enfranchisement of the 
blacks proceeded from a feeling of resentment, and was intended 
as a punishment merely. It will incline him to consider whether 
the people of the North, the controlling power of the Govern- 
ment at that time, did not act from a better motive than he has 
given them credit for. But even if this plan should meet with 
disapproval, instead of approval, from the white voters of the 
South, it would still be the true and wise policy for the Nation to 
pursue." 

"So you really think," said the Northerner dubiously, "that 
such a measure would produce good results even in the present 
generation?" 

"Unquestionably," was the reply. "Perhaps the chief incentive 
to the acts which have disgraced our civilization — which have 
made the white people of the South almost a unit in opposing by 
every means, lawful and unlawful, the course of the Government 
in reconstruction, has been a deep and bitter conviction that 
hatred, envy, and resentment against them on the part of the 
North, were the motives which prompted those acts. Such a 
measure, planned upon a liberal scale, would be a vindication of 
the manhood of the North; an assertion of its sense of right as 
well as its determination to develop at the South the same 
intelligence, the same freedom of thought and action, the same 
equality of individual right, that have made the North prosper- 
ous and free and strong, while the lack of them has made the 
South poor and ignorant and weak." 

"Well, well," said the Congressman seriously, "you may be 
right. I had never thought of it quite in that light before. It is 
worth thinking about, my friend; it is worth thinking about." 

"That it is!" said Le Moyne, joyfully extending his hand. 
"Think! If you will only think — if the free people of the North 



How? 455 

will only think of this matter, I have no fears but a solution will 
be found. Mine may not be the right one. That is no matter. As I 
said, the question of method is entirely subordinate to the result. 
But let the people think, and they will think rightly. Don't think 
of it as a politician in the little sense of that word, but in the 
great one. Don't try to compel the Nation to accept your view or 
mine; but spur the national thought by every possible means to 
consider the evil, to demand its cure, and to devise a remedy." 

So, day by day, the "irrepressible conflict" is renewed. The Past 
bequeaths to the Present its wondrous legacy of good and ill. 
Names are changed, but truths remain. The soil which slavery 
claimed, baptized with blood becomes the Promised Land of the 
freedman and poor white. The late master wonders at the mock- 
ery of Fate. Ignorance marvels at the power of Knowledge. Love 
overleaps the barriers of prejudice, and Faith laughs at the 
Impossible. 

The world goes up and the world goes down. 

The sunshine follows the rain; 
And yesterday's sneer and yesterday's frown 

Can never come over again. 

On the trestle-board of the Present, Liberty forever sets before 
the Future some new query. The Wise-man sweats drops of 
blood. The Greatheart abides in his strength. The King makes 
commandment. The Fool laughs. 




FICTION / AMERICAN HISTORY 



Albion W. Tourgee was an astute and reliable observer of Recon- 
struction. One of his two best-selling novels, Bricks Without 
Straw is not only a moving story but an important commentary 
on the Reconstruction process in the South. In his introduction 
Professor Olsen gives a comprehensive evaluation of the book 
and its author. 

"The most important reason for reading Tourgee today is that he 
anticipated the revisionist historians by well over half a century. 
His portrait of Reconstruction lends powerful support to their 
theories." — New Republic 

"Tourgee's picture of Reconstruction and of Negro life during 
Reconstruction is important, and more than ever useful in this 
new edition with its excellent introduction by Olsen." — Choice 



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